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Ottawa Senators executive arrested in Buffalo for alleged incident with hotel employee

Binghamton Senators

The assistant general manager of the Ottawa Senators hockey franchise has been charged with a violation harassment count in relation to an alleged incident Thursday involving a 19-year-old male employee of the Westin in Buffalo.

Randy Lee, who along with numerous other hockey executives traveled to Buffalo for the National Hockey League's Scouting Combine, was arraigned in Buffalo City Court Friday morning. He was freed on his own recognizance but was ordered to surrender his Canadian passport. An order of protection was also issued, preventing him from returning to the Westin.

Lee was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs and sat quietly as the judge processed numerous other cases. He told Judge Amy Martoche he could afford his own attorney though it was unknown following proceedings who would represent him.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn spoke after proceedings, detailing the allegations. He says Lee had been picked up by a Westin shuttle at the 716 restaurant late Wednesday evening to return him to the hotel. He says Lee allegedly asked for and was given permission to sit at the front of the shuttle.

"In the course of the drive back to the Westin Hotel, Mr. Lee allegedly put his hands on his shoulders and allegedly made some lewd comments," Flynn said. "The young man told to stop, don't touch him. Mr. Lee allegedly did not stop and put his hand back on his shoulders again and started rubbing his shoulders. 

"The young man again told him to stop. And then, the allegations are that by this time, they pulled up to the Westin Hotel, that Mr. Lee allegedly made a reference to his own private parts and made a vulgar, lewd statement to the 19-year-old boy again."

Flynn continued that the employee immediately reported the alleged incident to the hotel's head of security, who in turn notified Buffalo Police. Following an investigation, Lee was arrested Thursday at the hotel.

The district attorney stated that while the charge is merely a violation, Lee must answer for his alleged actions. If convicted, Lee could face a $250 fine and possible 15-day jail sentence. Flynn suggested he will not ask for jail time.

"Obviously this is going to damage him publicly," Flynn said. "He's got a very public position as the assistant general manager of an NHL hockey team. It could affect his employment. I have no idea if it will or not. He's going to be facing some obvious consequences for what he did."

The Ottawa Senators issued the following statement Friday afternoon: "We have been made aware of Randy Lee's arraignment in Buffalo. The Ottawa Senators will always hold all members of the organization to the highest standards of behaviour, regardless of the environment in which they operate. To this end, we are reviewing the situation with the greatest of care, and will provide an update as soon as one is available."

Lee's duties include the role of general manager of the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators, Ottawa's top minor-league affiliate.

He is scheduled to appear again in Buffalo City Court Monday, June 4.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.