Chicago Blackhawks suspend Garret Ross after revenge porn charge

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Chicago Blackhawks left wing Garret Ross (61) is congratulated by teammate Mark McNeill after scoring during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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The Chicago Blackhawks have suspended forward prospect Garret Ross indefinitely “pending the outcome of the legal process” for a case regarding "non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images.”

This is more commonly known as “revenge porn.”

Ross was pulled from the Rockford IceHog's Saturday game for what was called a “coach’s decision.” Soon after, word filtered out that Ross had been charged with “revenge porn” in early February. Chicago announced their decision to suspend Ross on Wednesday afternoon.

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“On Saturday afternoon, March 19, 2016, the Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs learned of a legal proceeding against IceHogs player Garret Ross. At that time, we excused Garret from team activities pending our preliminary review of the matter. After further review, we have determined to suspend Garret indefinitely pending the outcome of the legal process. Because this is a pending legal proceeding, we will have no further comment at this time.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 23-year-old Ross was charged on Feb. 2 after a four-month investigation where investigators obtained a search warrant for his cell phone. He was released on bond and was allowed to travel out of state while awaiting trial.

Per the police report, Ross allegedly sent a pornographic video of a woman one of his teammates dated to her in a text message exchange about Ross's recent breakup with his girlfriend. The video was originally sent to Ross's teammate and she was then concerned that the video had been "disbursed to other men." After this the woman decided to pursue charges against both Ross and the teammate, whose name was not divulged in the report. Ross’s teammate has not been charged. 

“The images that were shared with him were not to be disseminated, and he knew that,” Sycamore police Cmdr. Michael Anderson told the Tribune.

Illinois is reportedly one of 28 states with tough anti-revenge porn laws where Ross, a 2012 fifth-round draft pick of the Blackhawks, can spend up to three years in prison.

Here is Illinois’ revenge porn law, which took effect on June 1, 2015 explained by Balough Law Offices, LLC 

Under the new law, non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images occurs when an image of a person over 18, who is identifiable from the image or information displayed with the image, is engaged in a sexual act or “whose intimate parts are exposed, in whole or in part,” the image was obtained “under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the image was to remain private,” and where the person depicted has not given consent for the dissemination. 

The law exempts the dissemination of sexual images when the dissemination is part of a criminal investigation, where the exposure was in a public place or commercial setting, or “when the dissemination serves a lawful public purpose.”  Also exempt are providers of interactive, mobile, or telecommunications services.

The Tribune says Ross is scheduled to have a status hearing next month in DeKalb County, Illinois. He is in the final year of his contract with Chicago.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!