The #MeToo movement is pushing for women to share their stories of sexual harassment, abuse and assault. Because of the aggressive social media campaign, the disclosure of such uncomfortable experiences prompted companies to review their policies and call for new policies.
Comedian Kathy Griffin is one of the many women who have been sexually harassed in public places, and a female member of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team filed a police report on Monday alleging sexual assault.
The woman, a married mother of three, did not name the team or player. She told police the incident happened in her apartment Feb. 21 and was reported to authorities by the Blackhawks just last week.
The 41-year-old woman told police she was alone in her apartment with the Blackhawks player and he started kissing her. She said she tried to stop him, to drive away but he wouldn’t, according to a police report. The Blackhawks notified the Chicago Police Department “as soon as possible after the report was lodged,” said Officer Bari Lemmon, a department spokeswoman.
The Blackhawks team did not respond to phone calls seeking comment about the incident or what kind of action the team has taken.
The woman told police she tried to go to sleep but the man kept kissing her. After she told him to stop she left, came back in, gave him a hug and then he took off, she told police. The woman said she walked out to the sidewalk in front of her home and witnessed the Blackhawks leaving.
Shortly after the incident occurred, the woman contacted the Blackhawks team executive who was visiting her home, the police report states. The woman called the executive to tell him what happened and to give him information, the report states. She told him that she hadn’t reported it to police at that time because she didn’t know she was supposed to. She also told him that she didn’t want to embarrass anyone, the report states.
The woman had been friends with the Blackhawks executive for several years and that he “was not a stranger to sexual assault,” according to the police report. When the executive attended the Blackhawks game Feb. 21, the woman said she texted him that they were having a nice game, the report states. At that time she said she had been following the social media account of comedian Kathy Griffin, who took a photo of herself holding a decapitated, Donald Trump head and announced she would sell it on the Internet. Griffin later apologized.
The Chicago Blackhawks hockey team is far from unique when it comes to, for lack of a better word, creepy. The organization is one of many professional sports franchises with employees who have been accused of sexual misconduct.
Last year, a sexual assault and harassment investigation by the NHL discovered that the Chicago Blackhawks organization had exposed its employees to predators by failing to properly safeguard them, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. An independent investigator hired by the NHL conducted a yearlong investigation that concluded the Blackhawks had created a “hostile work environment” and was aware that female staff members “were at risk for sexual harassment.”
The investigator found “numerous examples of how Blackhawks employees may have been in a ‘situation of potential harm’ because they were directly exposed to predators,” the report stated.
The NHL punished the Blackhawks’ front office employees with a $50,000 fine, probationary periods and education.
Among the Blackhawks “alleged predatory individuals” identified during the investigation was Ryan Vorwald, an executive who resigned in December 2017. Vorwald had helped lead the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue event at United Center, and was an executive for the Blackhawks season tickets agency. Vorwald had been accused of harassing employees at his consulting company and was arrested in October 2017 on charges of making criminal threats.
Vorwald was released from jail and faced charges from incidents prior to his employment with the Blackhawks. He no longer works for the Blackhawks. A spokesman for the NHL and a spokesman for the Blackhawks declined to comment.
Adam Graisman is a reporter at WBEZ in Chicago and the national editor of DNAinfo. He’s been covering the #MeToo movement since the 2016 presidential election and has reported on stories that have dominated the news and the cultural discussion around harassment.