Lightning suspend Ian Cole as defenseman faces accusations of sexual abuse, grooming girl when she was small

The Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday suspended defenseman Ian Cole following he was accused on social media of grooming and sexually abusing a woman when she was a small.

The Lightning mentioned the team was absolutely cooperating with the NHL in an investigation and is generating the final decision to suspend Cole as it gathers more details.

“The Tampa Bay Lightning is aware of the allegations towards participant Ian Cole and are cooperating completely with the NHL on an investigation,” the Lightning reported in a assertion. “Our corporation will take these allegations incredibly severely. While we continue to gather more specifics, we have decided to suspend Ian Cole pending the results of an investigation. No members of the corporation, which includes players, will comment additional at this time.”

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Ian Cole of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck prior to a preseason sport towards the Florida Panthers at the FLA Are living Arena Oct. 6, 2022, in Dawn, Fla.
(Joel Auerbach/Getty Pictures)

The allegations had been manufactured on Twitter by a person identified as Emily Smith. The Twitter consumer posted a lengthy statement. The tweet was sent on Friday. The user only has 1 tweet on the account.

The assertion specifics Smith’s alleged come across with Cole when she was in substantial school, and he had been “enjoying in the NHL for a handful of a long time at that position.” Smith wrote Cole was “really very well aware” of how aged she was and reported she felt pressured into acquiring sexual intercourse with him. The assertion aspects moments when Cole allegedly created “derogatory and misogynistic reviews.”

Smith claimed Cole “bragged” to just one of his teammates about “sexually assaulting me as a slight the 1st night we initial met.”

“Ian felt emboldened to emotionally and sexually abuse me and other gals due to the fact the NHL fosters a tradition of misogyny,” the assertion continued. “The NHL wants to keep by themselves and their gamers accountable for developing an enabling atmosphere of misogynistic and predator habits. Individuals who protect his character are the types who have enabled him to do this for so extensive, and know pretty effectively of his abusive behavior towards women of all ages.

Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) works around Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) during the third period of an NHL preseason game Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.

Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) works about Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) all through the third time period of an NHL preseason activity Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
(G3 Box News Picture/Chris O’Meara)

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“Everyone who genuinely knows Ian and the way he talks about women will not be shocked by any of this. Coming forward as a target of grooming and abuse is really complicated. It’s quick to have disgrace and blame on your own, that you should’ve regarded better, but then I don’t forget that I was taken gain of as a small by a entirely developed grownup person. As a teenager, I did not even know what grooming was. When you are younger and this transpires to you, you really do not realize you are a victim. 

“As I got more mature and developed self esteem, I started off to fully fully grasp the extent of what occurred to me and that this could never ever have been consensual. I never feel Ian at any time anticipated me to have the braveness to converse out. It is painful to have to relive it, but I hope that this encourages far more people to discuss out about their very own ordeals of grooming and abuse. And I am really proud of myself that I am finally able to have the bravery to arrive ahead with the reality.”

Cole, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, played for the St. Louis Blues from 2010 to 2014, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes right before signing up for the Lightning in the offseason.

He’s won the Stanley Cup twice in his job.

The accuser did not specify when or where by the alleged assaults took area.

Cole has not responded to the allegations.

Nashville Predators defenseman Adam Wilsby (83) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) battle for position during an NHL preseason game Sept. 30, 2022, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Nashville Predators defenseman Adam Wilsby (83) and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (28) struggle for posture in the course of an NHL preseason recreation Sept. 30, 2022, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
(Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire by means of Getty Illustrations or photos)

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NHL Deputy Commissioner Invoice Daly explained to The G3 Box News the league experienced launched an investigation. Daly claimed the league experienced no prior know-how of the allegations until they surfaced on social media.

The G3 Box News contributed to this report.

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