Former Calumet resident faces sexual assault charges

WINDSOR – According to a report from a Canadian television network, a Calumet man, currently under contract with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, will stand trial on a sexual assault charges. A report on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website said Ben Johnson will stand trial on charges stemming from an incident in a Windsor, Ontario club in March of last year.

The CBC report said Johnson will appear in Superior Court in August with the trial expected to begin about a year later.

A former Michigan “Mr. Hockey” as a Calumet Copper King, he has played the last three seasons with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. Earlier this year Johnson, who is a third round draft pick of New Jersey, signed a three-year, two-way deal with the club.

Johnson’s lawyer, Patrick Ducharme, told the CBC his client is currently living with his family in Calumet and is only allowed back into Canada for court dates, meetings with his lawyer or official hockey games. Otherwise he has to seek permission to return.

Meanwhile, reports on the blog of a Windsor newspaper reporter indicate Johnson is in a Windsor court this week facing sexual assault charges from a separate alleged incident which occurred in a Windsor club in January 2013. In her blog on the website of The Windsor Star posted Friday, Sarah Sacheli reported that several witnesses have testified in a trial that began June 16.

Johnson is charged with one count of sexual assault in connection with an alleged incident in the bathroom of the Krooked Kilt on Jan. 13, 2013. While friends of the alleged victim have testified, according to Sacheli, the woman herself is not expected to testify until the trial resumes this fall.

Until last week there had been a publication ban on the case, but Ontario court Justice Micheline Rawlins lifted that ban Friday. In lifting the ban Rawlins said she at first was concerned with public perception if the media reports on evidence she later rules inadmissible. But she later rejected that concern saying “Being a judge is not a popularity contest.”

According to Sacheli, a standard publication ban on the identity of the alleged victim remains in place.