Suspended Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee plans to file a motion to dismiss all harassment charges levied against him stemming from an alleged incident in Buffalo six weeks ago.
“According to the claims being made, we intend to ask the judge to dismiss both charges,” Lee's attorney, Paul Cambria, said. “We are going to lay out our argument in detail to the judge on paper.”
Lee, who was in Buffalo for the NHL's pre-draft scouting combine at the time of the incident in question, was arrested on May 30 after allegedly rubbing the shoulders of a 19-year-old shuttle driver for a local hotel and making lewd comments. The Senators' executive pleaded not guilty on June 4 to the initial charge and again on July 6 to a second harassment charge.
, an order of protection was obtained by the teenager on June 1, and it stipulates that Lee must stay 100 feet away from the Westin Buffalo Hotel employee, and that Lee must refrain from "communication or any other contact by mail, telephone, e-mail, voice-mail or other electronic or any other means." The order is in force until Oct. 1, 2018, and Lee could be subjected to "mandatory arrest and criminal prosecution" if violated.
The Senators suspended Lee indefinitely on June 15. He has spent 23 seasons with the Sens, the last four as assistant GM.
While Lee was originally facing one harassment charge, a second harassment charge was set to be brought to the courts.
According to the AP, "The additional charge falls under a separate subsection of the legal code outlining the violation of harassment. It defines harassment as someone who “repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy” another person and 'serve no legitimate purpose.'"
Lee, who appeared in court on Friday to be arraigned on that second charge, has maintained through his representation that he did nothing illegal. The complainant may also also file an additional charge against both Lee and the Ottawa Senators.
That latest development prompted Cambria to tell The Athletic .
“They’re looking for money,” Cambria said. “To me, once a lawyer calls me with something like this — if you believe everything that’s alleged, the guy said he got his shoulder rubbed and now he said he wants money from Randy and the team. You can fill in the blanks there.”
Lee used a shuttle service offered by the Westin Buffalo Hotel on May 30. A 19-year-old male driver was dispatched to pick up the Senators' assistant GM, according to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, and it was during the shuttle ride that Lee allegedly began to rub the teenager's shoulders without permission.
“Mr. Lee allegedly didn’t stop and put his hand back on his shoulders again and started rubbing his shoulders," Flynn said. "The young man again told him to stop.”
According to Flynn, Lee also made lewd comments, including "a reference to his own private parts." The driver notified security when they returned to the hotel, with the Buffalo Police Department then being called, Flynn said.
While second-degree harassment is punishable by up to 15 days in jail, Flynn said a fine is more likely.
“I normally don’t get into too many specifics about a pending matter but in this case I will for two reasons: No. 1 because I don’t want the rumour mill out there to be unfair to Mr. Lee and what actually happened here, and No. 2, it’s just a violation. It’s not going to go before a jury,” Flynn said.
While he stressed that "it's not the crime of the century," Flynn noted that the incident is still a serious one that "is going to be very damaging" for Lee.
“I’ve got a 19-year-old victim who thinks it’s probably a cool thing to get an assistant general manager of a hockey team in the car,” Flynn said. “How many times does a 19-year-old get a chance to talk to a general manager of a hockey team and talk about the Stanley Cup and different hockey players?
“That’s kind of a cool thing. What’s not cool is what happened and so that’s why Mr. Lee is going to have to answer for his uncool behaviour.”
"The Ottawa Senators will always hold all members of the organization to the highest standards of behaviour, regardless of the environment in which they operate," the Senators said. "To this end, we are reviewing the situation with the greatest of care, and will provide an update as soon as one is available."
But new findings also indicate that not only was the driver unaware of who Lee was during this car ride, but that Lee attempted to hide his identity. In the charges file, the complainant said Lee introduced himself as "Rick" and said he was a physical therapist for the team and worked in the IT department.
It was only later, according to court documents, Lee's identity was revealed after the shuttle driver revealed the incident to the hotel. At that time, they were able to cross-reference the phone number he used to call the shuttle to identify his room number, and then his name. From there, the hotel found a photo of Lee online, at which time the shuttle driver was able to make a positive identification, according to the report.