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Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.
Former NHL player Reid Boucher has pleaded guilty to a sex crime involving a minor.
Boucher, who is currently playing in the KHL, was originally charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct — which carries a 25-year-to-life sentence — for a string of transgressions that occurred in 2011 when Boucher was living with a billet family in Michigan while part of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.
This past December, however, Boucher pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving sexual penetration with an individual between the ages of 13 and 16 years old.
According to Darcie Moran of the Detroit Free Press, the judge "agreed to let Boucher enter a plea for the lesser charge and agreed to sentence him with no upfront jail time through the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, or HYTA. Under HYTA, the case won't appear on Boucher's public record if he successfully completes his sentence."
The victim in this case, who was 12 years old at the time, says Boucher, who was 17 at the time, forced her into oral sex multiple times. On the first occasion, he threatened to release video footage of her dancing, then claimed he would publicize the first encounter to coerce her into a second assault.
For those who haven't already read @darciegmoran's thorough & detailed account, it's well worth your time.
This feels extremely relevant, especially given the puzzling plea agreement, which allows Boucher to evade jail time and potentially have it not appear on his record: pic.twitter.com/N29jyAW8Fm
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) January 16, 2022
The now-23-year-old woman, who has suffered drug and alcohol abuse among other awful repercussions over the 10 years it took her to feel comfortable enough to come forward, says she’s been re-victimized during the process and was "disgusted" by the judge’s words and decision.
"I feel like a lot of the progress I've made over the last 10 years – that's been undone," she told Moran.
The Detroit Free Press story also claims that USA Hockey was contacted about the incident in 2011, but all it did was remove Boucher from that billet home and put him in a new one.
According to The Athletic's Katie Strang, a USA hockey spokesperson had the following statement when asked for comment on the matter:
"In March of 2011, we spoke to parents of both minors and there were no accusations made, but Boucher was proactively removed from the billet home. In March of 2021 we were notified by police of allegations of sexual misconduct and have fully cooperated with their investigation."
Strang also reached out to former Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, who was at the helm when New Jersey used a fourth-round pick to draft Boucher in the summer of 2011.
"Unequivocally, our organization did not know about this incident," Lamoriello told Strang, also saying that the team would not have drafted Boucher had he been aware of the incident.
Just spoke to Isles GM Lou Lamoriello, who drafted Reid Boucher in 2011. Asked if he was aware of the sexual assault referenced in the Detroit Free Press story published yesterday:
"Unequivocally, our organization did not know about this incident."
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) January 15, 2022
Boucher, who spent time with the NHL's Devils, Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators, is due back in court for sentencing Jan. 31.
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