Things have just gotten worse for the Ottawa Senators, and yes, it seems possible even after all the chaos that has taken place in the past month. According to the Ottawa Citizen, Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee has been charged with a new count of harassment stemming from his May 31 arrest in Buffalo after a hotel shuttle driver complained of unwanted sexual advances.
As more and more details began to leak out in the past weeks, it was revealed that the hotel shuttle driver was a 19-year-old man and that this hadn't been merely a comment made in passing taken the wrong way, but that they had actually been a series of lewd comments made towards the young man. Additionally we would also learn that the young man had informed hotel security that Lee had attempted to rub his shoulders on several occasions.
That seems in fact to be true as the new charge — harassment in the second degree — was filed in Buffalo city court on Monday, by the same 19-year-old complainant, and Lee is now scheduled to be arraigned on the fresh charge July 6. Lee’s previous charge was also harassment in the second degree. Lee was initially arraigned under a subsection of harassment in the second degree that states: “He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same.”
Lee pleaded not guilty to the original count, and his lawyer Paul Cambria says he will argue that the whole case is a misunderstanding.
On June 15th, the Senators made the decision to suspend Lee effectively immediately following the first accusations of sexual harassment. The decision came after the team faced intense criticism from the media following the Senator's initial decision to allow Lee to remain in his position following the accusations, a position that would have kept him close to other young men.
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion issued a lengthy statement explaining the sudden change of heart.
"As our hockey club's initial statement made clear, our Hockey Team - and our organization as a whole - will always hold our leaders, coaching staff, players and employees to the highest standards of behaviour.
Harassment in any form is unacceptable, whether it occurs inside or outside the work place. As a result, and with all the care and caution required in such cases, we have spent the past two weeks listening carefully to, and consulting with our community, our fan base and our partners to understand their expectations on the matter.
At the same time, we have worked with authorities in Buffalo, as well as with Randy Lee's lawyer, to ensure that Randy be granted the due process to which he is entitled. Until now, the Senators had never been made aware of a complaint against Randy, whether before or during his 23-year career with the team. He must be allowed to address the allegations against him through the court system.
That said, the questions that must be answered by Randy are unlikely to be addressed until his next court date - on July 6, 2018 - we believe the best way to live our values and enforce our standards of behaviour is to suspend Randy Lee until the allegations against him are ruled upon by the courts.
The suspension is effective immediately and applies both to Lee's work with the Ottawa Senators and our AHL team in Belleville."
Lee is schedule to be back in Buffalo court on July 6 to be arraigned on the new count.