Nick Cousins will join the Adirondack Phantoms for the final nine games of their season after sexual assault charges against him and two other OHL players were dropped in a Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. court room on Thursday morning.
The Sault Star reports that authorities in Ontario -- the Crown, because Canada is fancy -- dropped all charges against Cousins, teammate Andrew Fritsch and former teammate Nick Petaccio (who is also a Sicklerville, N.J. native), stating that there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction." The report also says that Cousins and the other two defendants cannot have communication with the complainant or come within 500 meters of her home, work or school.
Sexual assault cases are extremely difficult to prosecute and gain a conviction, and the U.S. Department of Justice says that just five percent of rapes ever lead to a felony conviction.
The Phantoms haven't announced anything formal with regards to Cousins signing an ATO with the club, but he took to Twitter after the court's ruling Thursday and indicated that he will indeed join the team.
Wow ! Tough 8 months for myself and my family.Glad to say that it is finally over ! Would like to thank my family, friends, billets and— Nick Cousins (@Cous27) April 4, 2013
Obviously the Soo Greyhounds organization for the support along the way. As well as my lawyer Bruce Wilson. I will never forget my— Nick Cousins (@Cous27) April 4, 2013
Time in Sault Ste Marie.Best hockey town to be apart of. Now off to Adirondack to join the Phantoms !!!— Nick Cousins (@Cous27) April 4, 2013
Cousin's linemate with the Soo Greyhounds, Brandon Alderson, was signed to an ELC by the Flyers in March and will also join the Phantoms on an ATO for the final nine games of their season. Both Cousins and Alderson have finished their junior careers and will turn pro full-time next season.
Cousins finished the OHL season third in scoring with 27 goals and 76 assists in 64 regular season games.