Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee, who had been suspended by the organization while facing harassment charges, has resigned.
The team made the announcement shortly before 6 p.m. on Tuesday in a brief news release.
Lee is accused of making lewd comments and rubbing the shoulders of a 19-year-old male shuttle driver when he was in Buffalo, N.Y., for the NHL’s predraft scouting combine this spring.
Lee, who also served as GM of Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, was arrested on May 31 after prosecutors say he continued placing his hands on the man’s shoulders even after being told to stop. He also allegedly made a reference to his genitalia.
The 56-year-old said in a statement on Tuesday he is not in a position to fulfill his obligations with the Senators while his legal case continues.
Lee has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer is seeking to have the charges dismissed.
The club initially didn’t suspend Lee until two weeks after he was charged.
“We felt we made the right decision with Randy Lee,” Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion said at June’s NHL draft of the delay. “In 23 years with the organization, there’s never been an incident recorded. It’s an ongoing process.
“Randy will have his due process, and from there we will re-evaluate.”
The Senators said in Tuesday’s news release that they would have “no further comment on the matter.”
Ottawa’s assistant GM the past five seasons, Lee was scheduled to appear in a Buffalo court on Wednesday to argue motions, but that was pushed back to Sept. 13.
Paul Cambria, Lee’s attorney, told The Associated Press: “We’re just waiting on the judge to rule on the motion to have the case dismissed.”
When asked about Lee’s resignation, Charles Desmond, attorney for the shuttle driver, told the AP: “The [Senators] organization is doing the right thing to protect the public, its employees and other individuals who can be subjected to his actions.”
Lee’s story was just one of a number of ugly headlines to seep out of the country’s capital since Ottawa got to within a goal of reaching the 2017 Stanley Cup final.
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk threatened to move the team on the eve of the team’s showcase outdoor game in December, while the wife of captain Erik Karlsson alleged the couple had been cyberbullied by Monika Caryk, the partner of former teammate Mike Hoffman.
Caryk and Hoffman, who was subsequently traded, have denied the allegations.
Just before the Lee and Karlsson-Hoffman stories broke, Daniel Alfredsson, the most popular player in franchise history, was quoted as saying he hopes the team is sold to ensure its future in Ottawa.
Meanwhile, a baby garment featuring the Senators logo was recalled because of a potential choking hazard.
With files from The Associated Press