Could Denver prosecutors prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Semyon Varlamov assaulted his girlfriend on the night of Oct. 30?
They didn’t believe they could. On Friday afternoon, they filed a motion to dismiss the misdemeanor assault charge because they lacked the evidence to prove the case when it reached the trial stage.
"That's not to say we don't believe our victim," district attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said, adding that investigators reinterviewed witnesses whose statements began to shift. "It became clear we didn't have a belief we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt."
Varlamov, 25, was arrested on Oct. 30 on charges of assault and felony kidnapping after an alleged domestic violence incident with his girlfriend, 24-year-old Evgenia Vavrinyuk. The kidnapping charge was dismissed due to insufficient evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. But on Nov. 22, the Colorado Avalanche goaltender was charged with one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor that could have resulted in jail time.
The incident became an international one due to Varlamov’s status as expected starter for the Russian national team at the Sochi Olympics.
A Russian official accused the U.S. of trumping up the charge to weaken his nation’s team at the Winter Games. Ilya Kovalchuk made it seem like the tension between Varlamov and his girlfriend was over a green card. News that she was seeking compensation for interviews made the rounds.
Vavrinyuk also spoke out in her defense, claiming Varlamov had a problem with alcohol and going into detail about their relationship.
Throughout all of this, Varlamov continued to play for the Avalanche. He has career-best numbers this season, with a 2.37 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
Is his ordeal over? Vavrinyuk didn’t rule out a civil suit when she spoke about it in November:
“Perhaps for the harm to the health, yes. But my main goal is for the person to answer in accordance with the law. And for the court to prove that he is guilty.”
The court didn’t have a chance in this case, as prosecutors felt the burden of the burden of proof for criminal charges, and dropped them.