Warning: This article contains quotes detailing sexual assault.
When Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin was in charge of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins as the Pittsburgh assistant general manager, he allegedly told an assistant coach to stay quiet about Clark Donatelli, then the AHL Penguins head coach, sexually assaulting his wife during a road trip.
Per TSN’s Rick Westhead, Jarrod Skalde, the now-former assistant coach with the AHL Penguins, filed a lawsuit on Nov. 3 that detailed the alleged sexual assault during a Nov. 2018 road trip in Providence, R.I.
The allegations have not been proven, and a lawyer representing the Penguins franchise has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Within the lawsuit, Skalde allegedly approached Guerin several months after the assault took place and was told to keep quiet. He then claims that the Penguins broke Pennsylvania’s whistleblower laws when the team fired him on May 5 of this year, because he brought the issue to the team’s attention and was turned away.
Within Westhead’s report, he quotes the lawsuit that goes into detail about the events of that night on the road trip.
Guerin declined to comment when approached by Westhead about the lawsuit.
The lawsuit goes into greater detail into why the Skaldes did not disclose the event to the Penguins within the 180 days that is required for his dismissal to go under the state’s whistleblower laws.
After the Nov. 2018 assault, Skalde let Guerin know of the event during the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, on June 21 of that year. Four days later, the former assistant coach met with a lawyer representing the Penguins to discuss the assault. On June 28 — seven days after the assault was reported to team officials — Donatelli had resigned for personal reasons, according to the team.
Westhead details the events following Donatelli’s resignation in more detail:
The lawsuit goes into further detail about Donatelli’s past as a well-known harasser, making several sexual advances through his tenure with the AHL Penguins, but they were tolerated because he was able to coach well, putting women employees at risk.
As reported, Guerin’s participation in this case — mainly telling Skalde to keep the assault out of the public eye, to let it get handled internally while the team protected Donatelli — should be recognized by the Wild organization in the coming days. If not, it sends the wrong message across hockey and the culture of trying to cover up these events unfortunately grows.
Update, Dec. 8, 9:29 p.m.:
In the wake of the report, within hours the Wild and GM Bill Guerin issued statements, regarding the lawsuit and alleged assault.
“When I learned of these allegations,” Guerin said in his statement, “I promptly brought them to Pittsburgh Penguins senior management. The allegations were quickly investigated. I emphatically deny anything to the contrary.”
The timeline detailed in the initial report backs up the Wild general manager’s statement, as it took four days for Skalde to meet with team lawyers after reporting the incident to Guerin.
For the Wild, they stress the fact that this is still an active legal matter and making any hard statement would only hurt.
“The Minnesota Wild has discussed this matter with Bill Guerin and fully supports him,” team spokesman Aaron Sickman told media on Tuesday. “As this is a matter of active litigation, we will have no further comment.”
This is a developing story, stay tuned for updates.
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