A former CFL player has been given a suspended sentence of two years probation after pleading guilty to assault.
Teague Sherman, who spent six seasons in the CFL as a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Ottawa Redblacks, was originally charged with sexual assault in July of 2018. At the culmination of his trial this week, those charges were dropped after a “significant compromise” was reached with the prosecution for Sherman to plead guilty to assault.
The compromise was necessitated after the presiding judge, Justice Peter Doody, was forced to halt the trial in August due to a serious illness and was deemed unable to continue. In order to avoid a mistrial, which would have forced the three women who brought the case to police to re-testify, Sherman and his defence team agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Justice Robert Warden, who delivered the sentence in Doody’s stead, acknowledged it was “a bad situation for everyone to have to face.”
In edition to the suspended probation, Sherman has been ordered not to communicate with any of the three female complainants.
The charges stem from an incident on November 14, 2017, when Sherman was a member of the Redblacks. He and three teammates met the three women at a local night club before returning to their apartment, where Sherman stayed after the other players left.
According to the facts read at trial, Sherman began engaging in consensual sex with one of the women, before she asked for him to stop several times. Sherman allegedly continued before passing out, resulting in what prosecutor’s called “significant gaps” in his testimony.
Later that night, the woman, who had retreated to the living room, awoke to her friend yelling. According to their testimony, Sherman was naked except for his socks and had his hand on his genitals. He allegedly began touching himself as he put a hand on the second woman’s shoulder.
Sherman then entered the third woman’s bedroom and pulled back her bedsheets, before the three women yelled at him to leave and he finally did so. The assault charge, which Sherman plead guilty to, is related to his intrusion in the third woman’s bed room.
Sherman’s defence lawyer, Kate Irwin, made clear that the guilty plea for assault was not an admission of guilt on the other charges.
“There is not an admission on his part there was a sexual assault on either of the women, but he does admit that, when he got into the bed with the third woman, that she was asleep, was not able to consent as a result, and that he made contact with her that would have amounted to an assault,” Irwin said.
The initial charges filed against Sherman resulted in his release from the Redblacks. At the time, the CFL issued a statement saying it “has and abides by a policy on violence against women and condemns violence against women in all its forms” refusing to register a contract for Sherman with any team in the future.