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Blackhawks Reinstate Revenge Porn Prospect

The Blackhawks were asleep at the wheel for a while, but sure snapped into action quickly.
March 30, 2016, 10:57pm

The Chicago Blackhawks quickly reinstated prospect Garret Ross yesterday, after Illinois prosecutors dropped criminal charges against him due to a jurisdictional technicality. Ross, who plays for Chicago's Rockford IceHogs, was facing revenge porn charges for sending a video of a woman performing a sexual act via text message. The woman previously dated one of Ross's teammates, and had sent the video to him while they were in a relationship. They had since broken up, and Ross, who blamed his own breakup on the woman, sent the video back to her during an argument over text message about the issue, according to police reports obtained by the Chicago Tribune. The victim wanted to bring charges against both Ross and his teammate, but authorities said there was only enough evidence against Ross.

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Illinois law provides that images and videos sent via text message and email without the subject's permission fall under the revenge porn statute. Prosecutors dropped the charges against Ross yesterday, however, because they learned he was in his home in Michigan when he sent the video, so they had no jurisdiction over the case.

The complaint was originally filed on September 9, 2015 and Ross was charged on February 2, 2016, after a four-month investigation. He was released on bond and continued to play for the IceHogs until last week, one day after news began to spread that Ross was being charged for felony revenge porn. He was then quickly suspended after the Blackhawks "learn[ed] of a legal proceeding against him." Somehow they missed nearly seven months of this process.

The Blackhawks kept pretty close tabs on the case after that, though, and boy howdy did they react quickly to the latest news. Ross was reinstated within hours of the dropped charges.

"On March 23, 2016, the Chicago Blackhawks suspended Garret Ross after learning of a legal proceeding against him, and stated at that time that the suspension was indefinite pending the outcome of the legal process. We learned today, March 29, that the legal process concluded in Illinois with the dismissal of all charges against Garret. As a result, Garret Ross is reinstated with the IceHogs, effective immediately. We will have no further comment on the matter."

Garret Ross did not have the charges dropped against him because the investigation proved fruitless, or because witnesses were found to be untrustworthy. It was a purely technical decision. The victim is considering filing charges in Michigan, but that state typically requires that the images be published somewhere on the internet. As you can imagine, the victim is not happy about this.

"What bothered me the most was that it took the Blackhawks 40 days after Ross was booked and charged to suspend him, but less than 10 hours to reinstate him," the woman said. "That right there shows how the organization feels about issues like this. … The Blackhawks organization turned a blind eye, when they easily could have set an example within their organization that they do not tolerate this kind of behavior."

[Chicago Tribune]