Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee was charged with harassment for an altercation that involved him and a 19-year old male accuser.
The incident allegedly happened Wednesday night at around 10:30 pm on a shuttle bus that was dispatched to ferry NHL front office personnel from the 716 bar in Buffalo to the Westin Hotel.
Speaking with TSN‘s Geno Reda, Erie County DA John Flynn broke down the events of Wednesday evening.
“The allegations are that Mr. Lee was here in town for this NHL scouting combine session. He was staying at a hotel here in downtown Buffalo, the Westin Hotel. The Westin Hotel had a driving shuttle service back and forth to various venues here in the city of Buffalo. Mr. Lee was allegedly at a local restaurant here in the city of Buffalo. The Westin Hotel sent a 19-year old male driver to go and pick him up at this restaurant and on the way home from the restaurant back to the hotel, it is alleged that Mr. Lee initially put his hands on the shoulder of the driver. (Lee) initially allegedly asked him if he could sit in the front seat. The driver said, ‘No problem.’ So Mr. Lee allegedly sat in the front seat and like I stated, he allegedly put his hands on his shoulders initially. The young man told him to ‘Please stop. Don’t do that.’ He then again after being told no put his hands, again allegedly, back on his shoulders and started rubbing his shoulders. Again, the young man said, ‘Please stop. Please stop.’ By this time they had actually, from my understanding, gotten to the hotel or close to the hotel and at that point, Mr. Lee allegedly made a lewd comment in reference to himself and that is what kind of really spooked this young man – who in turn, went in and reported the situation to the head of security at the hotel. (The head of security) in turn, called the Buffalo Police Department and the investigation ensued with spillover into yesterday where Mr. Lee was arrested last night.“
The best-case scenario for Lee is that it’s a wrongful accusation, but even if some of the alleged actions and comments are true, the incident sounds incredibly creepy.
It’s impossible to know what was going through Lee’s mind at this time, but a fair assumption if the events unfolded as they were described , Lee probably believes that there was no ill-intent involved.
It could simply be a locker room gag gone wrong where Lee made inappropriate remarks because he thought it was funny to put someone in an awkward or uncomfortable position.
The thing is, it’s 2018 and this kind of behavior doesn’t fly.
According to DA Flynn, he did not believe alcohol to be a contributing factor, but acknowledged that “Mr. Lee was at a restaurant beforehand, so again, I’m not sure at this time what he ate or drank, but I have no indication at all that he was intoxicated.”
Lee spent a night in jail and was released under his own recognizance — which means that he was released without bail. His passport was taken however, so he will not be able to leave the United States until his Monday morning court appearance where he will offer a plea.
The maximum penalty that Lee faces if he is found guilty or pleads guilty is 15 days in jail and a fine.
The Senators issued a statement through a media release yesterday:
So it sounds like Lee will fight the charges.
Regardless, the charges raise a slew of important questions. Has this happened before and if so, has this pattern of behavior been overlooked and allowed to continue?
This is one hell of a start to the offseason.