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Jian Ghomeshi

The Canadian Press

Toronto Police said Friday evening it has opened an investigation into allegations of abuse by former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi after complaints made by two women.

The development came less than 24 hours after Police Chief Bill Blair urged women to come forward if they believe themselves to be the victims of a sexual assault in this or any other case. He noted there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault in Canada. "We will investigate any such crime reported to us regardless of the passage of time," he said.

Also on Friday, the CBC told employees it had fired Mr. Ghomeshi as a result of seeing graphic evidence last week that he had caused "physical injury to a woman."

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In a memo sent to staff, Heather Conway, the executive vicepresident of English services, said the CBC had never before been aware "that Jian had engaged in any activities which resulted in the physical injury of another person." While Mr. Ghomeshi had told CBC management earlier in the year that reporters were "looking into allegations by an ex-girlfriend that he had engaged in non-consensual 'rough sex,' " he had "firmly denied there was any truth to those allegations."

Executives believed him.

That changed last week when, as reported by The Globe and Mail on Thursday, representatives for Mr. Ghomeshi presented CBC executives with texts, e-mails and photos of the host's sexual encounters. Rather than exonerating him, as he had expected, the evidence startled managers.

"After viewing this graphic evidence, we determined that Jian's conduct was a fundamental breach of CBC's standard of acceptable conduct for any employee. Treating all people with respect, dignity and fairness is fundamental to our relationship with the Canadian public and contributes to a safe and healthy work environment that promotes engagement, openness and transparency," Ms. Conway explained.

"Jian's conduct in causing physical injury to a woman was inconsistent with the character of the public broadcaster."

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