Former Calumet hockey player Ben Johnson was sentenced today to three years in prison for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in a bar in Windsor, Ontario, more than three years ago.
Johnson’s sentence was handed down by Windsor Superior Court Judge Kirk Munroe. The maximum sentence he could have received was 10 years. CTV Windsor journalist Sacha Long reported that the sentence was slightly shorter than the three-and-a-half to four years requested by the crown. Johnson’s attorney had pleaded for leniency, describing Johnson as a “youthful, first-time offender.” Johnson was 18 at the time, and played for the Windsor Spitfires hockey team.
Munroe also ordered that Johnson possess no weapons for the next 10 years, pay a $250 fine into a fund that aids crime victims, provide a DNA sample to the Canadian government, and register as a sex offender. Johnson was taken into custody at the conclusion of the hearing.
With his wife at his side today, Johnson told the judge, “I respect the decision made in court. I feel terrible for all of those that have been affected.”
On Monday at his sentencing hearing, Johnson and his attorney submitted 115 character reference letters. Today, Munroe said he had read each of them. The crown called members of the victim’s family, who testified that the assault had left a lasting impact in the girl. Her identity has not been publicly revealed, per Canadian law.
Johnson was convicted September 1st of the assault, which occurred in the women’s bathroom of a Windsor nightclub. He had remained free on bail since that time. He was also charged with a second assault, which occurred about the same time in a different club. He was found “not guilty” in that case.