A major scandal has resulted in a massive change in the Ottawa Senators front office.
According to a breaking news report from The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta, Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee has resigned from his position in the Senators front office as a result of the sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him. The move comes several weeks after many members of the hockey community as well as the hockey media have called for Lee's resignation, although at this time Lee has not been convicted in relation to any of the charges levied against him.
According to the accusations in the case Lee allegedly put his hands on and made repeated sexual advances towards a 19 year old boy who was providing a shuttle service for the Hotel at which Lee was staying at. The situation resulted in a major embarrassment for Lee, the Senators, and the National Hockey League who was holding it's scouting combine in Buffalo at the time of the incident. Needless to say this raised some very serious concerns about Lee's position in the Senators organization, more specifically as it pertains to his access to young men who are either at the NHL level or are hoping to one day reach that level.
The decision to resign today seems to have been largely prompted by the fact that Lee's scheduled court date in Buffalo was pushed back several days and now threatens to run well into training camp and perhaps even the regular season. The hearing today would have been regarding a motion to have the charges dismissed and if Lee had been successful in his attempts to have the charges dropped we could be seeing things play out very differently today.
Lee has released a statement to announce the decision and here it is unedited and in full:
My hearing in Buffalo has been postponed until September 13. While my case continues to be reviewed by the courts, I do wish to address my future with the Senators.
My suspension has given me more time to spend with my loved ones than ever before. For the past 23 year , my family has taken a back seat to my career. My focus is now on putting them first.
At the same time I have to think about my obligations to the hockey team. They need an Assistant General manager who can focus completely on the coming season. Until this matter is behind me, however, I'm not in a position to that.
For this reason - in consultation with the Ottawa Senators and my family - I have chosen to resign as Assistant General Manager of the Ottawa Senators and General Manager of the Belleville Senators.
There has been a lot of animosity directed towards Lee and the Senators as a result of this situation but it's very important to remember that we live in a society where the presumption of innocence is one of the pillars of our legal system. Yes the accusations against Lee are heinous and disgusting but no one really knows what happened that day and it's important not to rush to judgement until the legal system has run it's course.
Photo Credit: Darren Brown/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency