Earlier on Tuesday, TSN’s Rick Westhead released a bombshell of a report concerning an alleged sexual assault from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL coaching staff. In his detailed report, Westhead revealed how former Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins assistant coach Jarrod Skalde has filed a lawsuit against then WBS Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli for an alleged sexual assault on Jarrod’s wife Erin Skalde while the three of them were together in a car during aa road trip to Providence, R.I. earlier this year.
From Westhead’s column for TSN:
After the Skaldes and Donatelli had dinner together following a game on Nov. 11, 2018, and prepared to return to their hotel, the Skaldes allege in their claim that Donatelli sexually assaulted Erin when they were briefly alone, first putting his arm around her, calling her “sexy” and pulling her close to him.
“Mrs. Skalde tried to fight off his sexual advances and told him to stop, but to no avail, as Mr. Donatelli escalated his attack, including reaching his hands into Mrs. Skalde’s shirt and repeatedly touching her breasts,” the lawsuit alleges.
Skalde returned to his wife and Donatelli a few minutes later and they took a car-ride service back to the hotel. Donatelli insisted that he sit in the back seat with Erin for the ride, and that Skalde sit in the front.“Still in shock and uncertain what to do in response to her husband’s boss sexually assaulting her, Mrs. Skalde fearfully entered the back seat of the car, trying to put as much distance between herself and Mr. Donatelli as she could, to avoid him again sexually touching her,” the lawsuit says.
“Mr. Donatelli resumed his sexual assault and battery of Mrs. Skalde once he had her in the darkness of the backseat. He not only groped her breasts again, but also forced his hands down her pants and touched her vagina, despite her efforts to push him away… Only later did Mr. Skalde find out what happened to his wife that night, shaking him to the core to learn that he had sat unknowingly in the front seat as his boss has sexually assaulted his wife.”
As shocking as that all is, what’s equally as bad is the fact that then Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM and now Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin allegedly ignored Skadle and eventually fired him without cause.
Again from Westhead:
Skalde alleges that seven months later, when the incident was brought to the attention of Penguins’ assistant general manager Bill Guerin, whose duties included overseeing the NHL team’s AHL operation, Guerin told Skalde to keep quiet about the alleged assault. He alleges the NHL team has violated Pennsylvania’s whistleblower laws and fired him on May 5, 2020, because he complained to the team.
However on Tuesday night, the Minnesota Wild spokesman Aaron Sickman released two statements on the accusations. The first is from the organization itself:
“The Minnesota Wild has discussed this matter with Bill Guerin and fully supports him. As this is a matter of active litigation, we will have no further comment.”
Then, there was a statement from Guerin himself, who spoke out and denied the accusations that he reportedly told the coach to “stay quiet” about his wife’s sexual assault by his colleague.
“When I learned of these allegations, I promptly brought them to Pittsburgh Penguins senior management. The allegations were quickly investigated. I emphatically deny anything to the contrary.”
The lawsuit states that Skalde did confront Donatelli about the alleged sexual assault on May 15, 2019.
“Donatelli claimed he was too drunk to recall the events of the night in question, but six days later, he met with Jarrod Skalde and apologized,” the claim says. After Erin Skalde confronted Donatelli, the lawsuit says “Donatelli pledged to Mr. and Mrs. Skalde that he would change his ways, seek help, and come forward to the Penguins’ assistant general manager Billy Guerin about what he had done.”
However, Donatelli failed to follow through with telling Guerin about his behaviour or changing his ways, which prompted Skalde to report the sexual assault to Guerin at the NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 21, 2019. Four days later, Skalde met with a Penguins’ lawyer to discuss the assault.
On June 28, 2019, the Penguins announced Donatelli had resigned for personal reasons .
“Guerin later advised Mr. Skalde that the Penguins were terminating Mr. Donatelli’s employment, but instructed [Jarrod] that knowledge of the incident and termination had to be suppressed, cautioning that it ‘has to stay quiet and can’t be let out,’” the lawsuit says.
The Skaldes also allege in their 22-page claim that they learned of “countless other episodes of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Donatelli, sexual and otherwise, which apparently the Penguins were aware of but did little or nothing to stop. Donatelli’s misconduct… was well-known by the Penguins management, but tolerated because he was a successful coach.”
It feels like Guerin will have to say a lot more than these few lines to get this ironed out and right in everyone’s hearts…