Former Canucks forward Jake Virtanen found not guilty of sexual assault

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Ex-Canucks forward Jake Virtanen was charged in January with sexual assault in connection to an encounter in a downtown Vancouver hotel room in 2017. (Getty)
Ex-Canucks forward Jake Virtanen was charged in January with sexual assault in connection to an encounter in a downtown Vancouver hotel room in 2017. (Getty)

A jury on Tuesday found former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen not guilty of sexual assault.

The 25-year-old, who last played in the KHL, was charged last January with sexual assault relating to an encounter in a Vancouver hotel in September 2017. Virtanen was subsequently placed on leave and eventually had his contract terminated by the Canucks after the allegations were revealed last spring.

Virtanen told the B.C. Supreme Court court last week that not only did the woman consent, but that she was an "enthusiastic participant" in the encounter, per the Canadian Press. The 23-year-old woman, however, claimed she repeatedly said "no" to Virtanen and that she did not want to have sex with him.

The woman, whose identity is protected, posted an Instagram story in April 2021 aimed at survivors of sexual assault before naming Virtanen to a Glacier media reporter as the man who allegedly sexually assaulted her.

The 12-person jury began deliberations on Monday after five days of testimony.

According to the Canadian Press, Virtanen "wept openly" as the verdict was read.

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