Lightning suspends Ian Cole as defender faces sexual assault charges, grooming the woman when she was a minor

The Tampa Bay Lightning On Sunday, defender Ian Cole was arrested, after he was accused on social media of grooming and sexually assaulting a woman when she was a minor.

The lightning said the team was fully cooperating with NHL in investigation She decides to stop Cole as she gathers more details.

“Tampa Bay Lightning is aware of the allegations against player Ian Cole and is cooperating fully with the National Hockey League in the investigation,” Lightning said in a statement. “Our organization takes these allegations very seriously. As we continue to gather more details, we have decided to suspend Ian Cole pending the outcome of the investigation. No members of the organization, including the players, will comment further at this time.”

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Ian Cole of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck before a pre-season game against the Florida Panthers at the FLA Live Arena October 6, 2022, in Sunrise, Florida.

Ian Cole of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck before a pre-season game against the Florida Panthers at the FLA Live Arena October 6, 2022, in Sunrise, Florida.
(Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The allegations were made on Twitter By a user known as Emily Smith. A Twitter user posted a lengthy statement. The tweet was sent on Friday. The user has only one tweet on the account.

The statement details Smith’s alleged encounter with Cole when she was in high school, and he was “playing in the NHL for a few years at that point.” Smith wrote that Cole was “well aware” of her age and said she felt pressured to have sex with him. The statement details the times Cole was alleged to have made “degrading and misogynistic comments”.

Smith alleged that Cole “bragged” to a teammate about “the sexual assault of me when I was a minor the first night we met.”

“Ian felt emboldened to abuse me, emotionally and sexually, myself and other women because the NHL promotes a culture of misogyny,” the statement continued. “The NHL needs to hold themselves and their players accountable for creating an environment of misogynistic and predatory behaviour. Those who defend his character are the ones who have enabled him to do so for so long, and they know all too well his misogynistic behaviour.

Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) works around Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) during the third period of an NHL pre-season game on Saturday, October 8, 2022, in Tampa, Florida.

Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) works around Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) during the third period of an NHL pre-season game on Saturday, October 8, 2022, in Tampa, Florida.
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

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“Anyone who really knows Ian and the way he talks about women wouldn’t be surprised by any of this. Coming forward as a victim of grooming and abuse is really hard. It’s easy to be ashamed and blame yourself, which you should have known better, but then I remember it was done.” Exploited as a minor by an adult adult man.When I was a teenager, I didn’t even know what grooming was.When you were young and this happens to you, don’t realize you are a victim.

“As I got older and built my self-esteem, I began to fully understand how much had happened to me and that this could never be consensual. I don’t think Ian ever expected me to have the courage to speak up. It hurts to have to take that back, but I hope it encourages this. More people to speak out about their own experiences of grooming and abuse. And I’m really proud of myself for finally being able to have the courage to come forward with the truth.”

Cole, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, played for the St. Louis Blues from 2010 to 2014, when he was traded to Pittsburgh penguins. He played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes before joining the Lightning team at the offseason.

He has won the Stanley Cup twice in his career.

The accused did not specify when or where the alleged attacks took place.

Cole denied the allegations in a statement through his agent, Kevin Magnuson.

Nashville Predators defender Adam Welsby (83) and Tampa Bay Lightning quarterback Ian Cole (28) battle for position during the National Hockey League's pre-season game on September 30, 2022, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Nashville Predators defender Adam Welsby (83) and Tampa Bay Lightning quarterback Ian Cole (28) battle for position during the National Hockey League’s pre-season game on September 30, 2022, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
(Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I take the allegations made against me today in an anonymous tweet very seriously,” Cole said. “I look forward to having my name cleared and proving to the NHL and Tampa Bay Lightning that these allegations are unfounded.”

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NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daley told The Associated Press that the university has launched an investigation. Daly said Al-Douri had no prior knowledge of the allegations It even appeared on social media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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