In a surprising turn of events, Stratford Cullitons head coach Phil Westman has resigned from the club as of Thursday evening .
On the heels of Mitch Vandergunst conviction on two sexual assault counts, and the discovery that those accusations have been covered up since 2013, Westman has admitted being responsible for making sure the team and league were not aware of the charges.
Westman’s knowledge of the case became more than obvious during Vandergunst’s sentencing, when his name was read more than once as having written a letter for the defense as part of the pre-sentencing report.
Westman has said he believed he was “adhering to a publication ban” in not disclosing the charges to the Cullitons board of directors.
That excuse does not hold water when a publication ban does not even imply a ban on making your employers aware of a potentially volatile and damaging criminal action.
In a media release, the Hockey Club said that in order to ensure that all members of the Hockey Club, players, staff and board members understand suitable conduct and our zero tolerance policy, we will be undertaking the following steps:
1. Players, staff and board members will participate in addition suitable conduct training sessions with our Prevention Officer, as well as a Domestic Abuse awareness session provided by Optimist Place Women’s Shelter and Support Services.
2. The board will review our current policies with regards to reporting protocols and obligations for players, staff and board members.
3. Criminal record checks for players 18 and over will be instituted by the team.
The media release also issued apologies “for any additional grief or stress our Club’s involvement may have caused the victim and family.”