Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams flew home on military jet after alleged sex assault; accuser flew commercial

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Ex-NHL’er Tiger Williams charged with sexual assault
WATCH: Former NHL player Dave "Tiger" Williams is charged with sexual assault and assault after an incident on board a Canadian military plane. Abigail Bimman has the details. – Feb 9, 2018

Dave “Tiger” Williams flew back to Canada from Latvia in December on a military jet after a steward on the same trip accused him of sexual assault and assault on the flight over.

The alleged victim flew commercial.

On Feb. 9, the military confirmed that the former Toronto Maple Leafs professional hockey player had been charged by military police with one count of sexual assault and one count of assault following an incident on-board the military’s 200-seat Polaris jet in which he allegedly sexually assaulted a military steward.

He was released on the condition that he does not consume alcohol and that he has no contact with the alleged victim.

READ MORE: Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams, former Maple Leafs player, charged with sexual assault after military trip to Latvia

A source had told Global News that several other stewards on-board the aircraft refused to board the plane for the return flight if Williams was on-board but the military would not confirm that at the time.

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Now, the military has confirmed that the alleged victim and an undisclosed number of others were flown home separately while Williams returned to Canada on the military plane.

He was also allowed to play a hockey game in Latvia because “he was not charged at the time.”

“The victim was subsequently offered – and accepted – the option to return home on a civilian flight accompanied by others. This was done so that we could distance the victim from the accused and to ensure they can receive the requisite support, as applicable,” said Daniel Le Bouthillier, spokesperson for the Department of National Defence.

“The accused was allowed to continue on with the rest of the group to ensure sufficient distance from the victim, noting as well that he was not charged at the time and it was a fluid situation.”

The Canadian embassy in Latvia posted photos of the game Williams took part in during the trip, which raised questions about why Williams was allowed to continue in the activities of the trip despite the allegations — as well as when exactly senior military officials became aware of the complaint.

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The alleged victim filed the complaint to the supervisor for the military stewards, which officials said did not include the senior military leaders on-board the plane at the time; namely, Vice-Chief of Defence Staff Alain Parent.

Officials said Parent was not aware of the incident at the time it allegedly happened.

Le Bouthillier said the military would not be releasing a complete passenger manifesto detailing which senior military officials were on-board the aircraft.

“The bottom line is that we took care of the victim with respect and dignity, while dealing with the accused through a thorough and expedient police investigation.”

READ MORE: Will the #Metoo movement affect Parliament Hill?

While military police laid the charges, Williams will be processed through the civilian court system in Ottawa.

According to military officials, charges were laid by military police before a judge on Wednesday without Williams being present.

He was made aware of those charges and was ordered to report for arrest to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service on Friday, which he did.

He was then released with conditions applied by the civilian court that prevent him from contacting the alleged victim or consuming alcohol while he is released.

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Williams, 64, was taking part in a visit to Canadian troops deployed to Latvia as part of Operation Reassurance, a NATO mission meant to deter Russian aggression in Eastern and Central Europe following its annexation of Crimea.

The military regularly brings individuals such as Canadian actors, athletes or comedians to take part in holiday morale tours.

First drafted in 1974 by the NHL out of Swift Current, Sask., Williams played seven seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs before going on to join the Vancouver Canucks, the Detroit Red Wings, the Los Angeles Kings and the Hartford Whalers.

He retired in 1988 but has remained a prominent ambassador for the Maple Leafs in the decades since.

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