The police report of a decade-old sexual assault case involving Reid Boucher, a former NHL player currently playing in the international Kontinental Hockey League, and a 12-year-old girl in Ann Arbor was recently re-released to the Detroit Free Press, showing what USA Hockey and Ann Arbor Public Schools officials knew about the sex assault case.
Randall Levine, a criminal defense attorney and managing partner at Levine & Levine Attorneys At Law who has represented those accused or under investigation for failing to report, said it’s a gray area without knowing the exact details the school had.
Back in 2011 when the assault occurred, USA Hockey removed then-17-year-old Boucher from the scene of the reported assaults — the residence of his USA Hockey National Team Development Program host family, according to an Ann Arbor police report and a USA Hockey spokesman. Boucher was arrested in 2021 when the case was brought to the attention of police.
The girl, now a 23-year-old Ypsilanti woman, came forward when she finally felt strong enough after years of painful internal struggle from the assault that led her to self-harm and misuse substances, she told the Free Press. She is not being named due to the circumstances of her case, but is seeking justice. She wants a heftier penalty for Boucher than the record- and jail time-free sentence a judge agreed to grant last month after the hockey player pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The police report, re-released in January 2022 with less redactions, suggests Ann Arbor Public Schools had at least enough information to conduct an interview back then. And it shows USA Hockey had a note about that conversation. The report does not indicate that police or Children's Protective Services were called — something USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer confirmed Monday.
A USA Hockey program executive, when interviewed by police last year, said he didn't recall the gravity of Boucher's removal from the so-called "billet" home. And Fischer said the school only alerted the program to a girl saying she had a boyfriend on the team, an allegation that, at the time, was deemed to be unfounded.
The school's actions back in 2011 are unclear. The police report does not indicate that officers, in 2021, interviewed anyone at the school in the Boucher matter.
The woman believes USA Hockey and Ann Arbor schools should have called police.
Levine told the Free Press he believes courts now interpret the law to require reporting of less information than it did in prior years, but also said rumors can fly in schools and false accusations are serious.
“In order to trigger the obligation to report, there has to be a reasonable credibility, and that's a determination that's subjective based on each particular situation,” Levine said during an interview with the Detroit Free Press.
Andrew Cluley, director of communications for the Ann Arbor school district, declined to comment on the matter for the Free Press article. However, he provided the Free Press with the following statement when asked about school protocol when such a concern of student harm is raised: "When a situation emerges regarding the safety of our students, members of our team follow appropriate steps, including contacting the parent/guardian of the students involved, notification of DHS (the state department which includes Children's Protective Services), conducting a thorough investigation of the matter, and contacting AAPD in full support of a law enforcement investigation."
The school should have contacted Children's Protective Services, metro Detroit-based attorney Todd Flood told the Free Press.
Michigan law requires people, such as counselors, to contact the state's Children's Protective Services department when they have "reasonable cause to suspect child abuse." If they don't, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both, according to the Free Press.
Flood said the woman's denials as a 12-year-old shouldn't have kept the school counselor from calling, as he believes the "reasonable cause" standard was met. It's common for children to deny real abuse is occurring because they are scared, and that's why the law requires that CPS be called — so forensically-trained experts can handle an abuse concern, he said.
"The fact that they took steps to inquire, to go on an inquiry, is enough to trigger the experts to come in. ... That's kind of a no-brainer," Flood told the Free Press.
The woman said she has to recognize that views and handlings of sex assault has changed, somewhat, since the timing of her incident, a decade ago. But she raised concerns about whether that school counselor was equipped for a trauma-informed handling of a child sex abuse report, and said she feels USA Hockey buried it and should have done more, according to the Free Press.
Flood said the statute of limitations on a failure to report has passed. Per the statute on misdemeanors, the limit appears to be six years.
Read the full story, here.