Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

SENTENCING DECISION – The courthouse in Whitehorse where Geoff Muldoon was sentenced on Sept. 27. Muldoon received a conditional discharge and probation.

Man receives conditional discharge and probation in assault case

A former Whitehorse minor hockey referee has received a conditional discharge and probation for assaulting a minor.

By Morris Prokop on October 8, 2021

A former Whitehorse minor hockey referee has received a conditional discharge and probation for assaulting a minor.

According to Yukon Territorial court documents and a recording of court proceedings obtained by the Star, Geoffrey Matthew Muldoon, 44, was the referee in chief for the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association (WMHA). He was the head referee, which required him to provide training to the new minor referees during courses and after games at the Canada Games Centre and Takhini Arena in Whitehorse.

Muldoon was originally charged with five counts of assault, but that was later reduced to one charge.

The assaults took place between March 31, 2019 and December 15, 2019.

The assault which Muldoon pled guilty to occurred between Sept 7, 2019 and December 15, 2019.

In total, Muldoon made 14 appearances in Yukon Territorial court. His first court appearance was Oct. 28, 2020. His last appearance, for sentencing, was Sept. 27, 2021.

According to the Agreed Statement of Facts, in December of 2019, the parents of the five victims reported to the Whitehorse RCMP that there was inappropriate conduct from a head referee, Muldoon, who resigned as a result of the complaints against him.

One of the victim’s mothers walked in on Muldoon carrying her child on his shoulders while alone in a change room with the child on November 30, 2019.

A policy existed stipulating that adults working for the WMHA were not to be alone with any child unless another adult was present. All of the victims were under 16 years of age.

The nature of the assaults included Muldoon tickling one child’s feet.

Another incident involved Muldoon putting a child over his shoulder, turning a shower on, putting the child’s feet in the shower, and tickling them afterwards.

Muldoon also coerced a child to push a dime across the floor with the child’s nose.

In other incidents, Muldoon tickled one child on his feet, legs, and abdomen.

Muldoon also placed another of his victims on his lap and tickled his feet.

Muldoon described some of his actions to the victims as “rookie treatment.”

Muldoon had previously been reprimanded with conditions by a Discipline Committee of the Ontario College of Teachers for inviting male minors into his home and offering them alcohol, which one of them accepted.

According to a decision made public by the Ontario College of Teachers on professionallyspeaking.oct.ca, he invited the boys “to his home for parent-approved sleepovers.” He also “engaged in Internet chat-line conversations with the boys.”

A public hearing for that matter took place on Sept. 27, 2007 in Toronto. Muldoon, who worked for the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic DSB at the time, plead guilty to the allegations.

The panel reprimanded Muldoon for “professional misconduct.” It directed him to “complete a course on appropriate boundaries and violation issues at his own expense within three months of the panel’s decision.”

In the Yukon sentencing hearing, Crown attorney Jane Park argued that the Ontario decision should factor into Justice Kathleen Caldwell’s decision on the assault charge against Muldoon.

Four of the seven victim’s statements were read during Muldoon’s sentencing hearing on Sept. 27, 2021 in Yukon Territorial Court.

One of the parents stated “When I first learned the accused assaulted my son, I was shocked.”

The same parent mentioned that one of the incidents happened while they were waiting in the rink to bring their child home.

“This situation has made it harder for our family to trust anyone with our children.”

The parent added that the case has cast a bad light on youth organizations and activities.

“These assaults undermine all the hard work that people put into creating and working for a youth sports organization.

“This situation has many kids and families wary of joining minor sports.”

In another victim statement, one parent said to Muldoon “daily I struggle with anger and anxiety as a result of your actions.”

Another vicim statement said “this incident has impacted my entire family.

“I am second-guessing anyone that may be in a position of authority. I’m afraid to allow my children to participate in after-school activities or groups in fear that another adult with inappropriate intentions might be in contact with my kids.”

In the final victim statement read in court, a parent stated “in meeting Geoff Muldoon, something in my gut told me something wasn’t right. Obviously, we were right, and obviously, I didn’t watch him close enough.”

That parent added that they would “trust my gut better on adult interactions with my children. And when my gut speaks, do not let my child be alone, or with a friend alone with these adults.”

The parent added of Muldoon, “the fact that he must be told not to act inappropriately with minors infuriates and sickens me.”

A criminal record check was done on Geoff Muldoon to volunteer with minors in relation to the referee in chief’s position with the WMHA. However, since Muldoon wasn’t convicted of a criminal offence in connection with the reprimand by the Ontario College of Teachers, nothing showed up on the criminal record check.

Crown attorney Jane Park asked for a suspended sentence followed by a two-year probation. The conditions sought by the Crown included no contact with the victims or anyone under 16 years of age unless a sober adult third party is present. Further, Muldoon would be required to report to a probation officer within two working days and thereafter as directed, and attend counselling as directed by the probation officer.

Park said that some of the mitigating factors included that Muldoon was a first-time offender, and his guilty plea. Park added that she wanted to stress that the guilty plea came a day before the trial.

Aggravating factors included the victims being under 18 years old, evidence that Muldoon abused a position of trust and authority, and evidence that the event had a significant effect on the victim, as demonstrated through the victim impact statements. Park added there were multiple victims with multiple events, although eventually only one charge of assault, after four other assault charges were dropped.

Further, Park said Muldoon knowingly violated the WMHA policy that stated adults were not to be alone with children.

She also read some of the decision from the Ontario College of Teachers regarding Muldoon’s reprimand from that organization, which, according to Park, indicates a pattern of Muldoon “involving himself in organizations where he would be working closely with minors.”

Park finished by stating it would be contrary to the public interest to allow a conditional discharge. She added that there needs to be a criminal record that reflects Muldoon’s established pattern, as well as preventative measures for Muldoon in order for him to not put himself in similar situations in the future.

Muldoon’s defence lawyer Jennifer Budgell confirmed that Muldoon was seeking a conditional discharge and two years probation, or longer if Justice Caldwell thought that was necessary.

Budgell said that she was in agreement with the terms of probation laid out by Park, but questioned the use of the term “sober” to describe an adult to be present with Muldoon and a child under 16 years of age. (The word “sober” was later omitted from the wording of Muldoon’s probation.)

Budgell advised the court that Muldoon has worked for Fleming Protection and Security since 2014, and is required to have a “professional investigator/security guard license”. The governing agency which issues licenses had already flagged Muldoon’s case, potentially putting his license in jeopardy so, according to Budgell, it was better for Muldoon to receive a discharge.

Budgell went on to state that the situation in Ontario resulted in “an allegation of inappropriate, non-criminal behaviour with young people,” as opposed to allegations of actual abuse, which were withdrawn.

Budgell did concede, however, that Muldoon “crossed the line” in inviting the youth over and offering alcohol to them.

She further stated that Muldoon has attended seven counselling sessions since May 10, 2021, and that Muldoon planned to continue with counselling, even if not required to by the court.

Budgell made it clear that Muldoon has support from his employer, as outlined in a letter submitted to the court, along with six other letters of support from various parties.

Budgell summarized the letters by saying that they illustrate that the acts were “out of character” for Muldoon.

As part of her overall summery, Budgell stated that Muldoon “has no intention of coaching youth sports or refereeing youth sports.”

Budgell went on to state that Muldoon “is deterred” from further behaviour such as the assaults in this case, citing extensive media coverage of the case, as well as examples of previous case law.

Budgell also maintained that the charge against Muldoon would result in him being “flagged” in a Vulnerable Sector Check.

She concluded by stating that “a conditional discharge is not contrary to the public interest in this case.”

Muldoon declined an opportunity to address the court.

Justice Caldwell, in handing down her decision, indicated the conflict between the victim’s statements and the letters of support presented to the court made decisions in cases like this one difficult.

Justice Caldwell said that the victim’s statements indicated Muldoon’s actions “crossed the boundary into criminal acts. They involved non-consensual physical contact.”

Justice Caldwell, however, stated she did accept that the letters of support, were “genuine”, and examples that “the good can co-exist with the negative.”

Justice Caldwell went on to say that “the two sides really aren’t that far apart.”

She stated that Muldoon’s acts were “on the low end of the spectrum”, as well as the gravity of Muldoon’s guilty plea.

Another major mitigating factor, according to Justice Caldwell, was Muldoon’s status as a first offender.

However, she also agreed with the crown’s assertion that the victim’s age and Muldoon being in a position of trust were aggravating factors, as well as the impact on the victims and their families.

Justice Caldwell cited that the potential effect of a criminal record on Muldoon’s employment having greater ramifications than the discharge was a significant factor in her decision, and that it is in the public interest that people continue to be contributing members of society.

She went on to state that “a discharge is not contrary to the public interest if it does carry with it a lengthy period of probation and strict terms.”

Because of the reasons stated above, Justice Caldwell granted Muldoon a conditional discharge. He was also placed on three years probation, which she described as the maximum amount she could impose.

His probation conditions include:

No contact and no communication with the assault victims.

He must stay away from any known place of residence, employment or education of the victims.

He must report to a probation officer.

He must attend and actively participate in all assessment and counselling programs as directed by his probation officer.

He must have no contact directly or indirectly with any individual under the age of 16 unless an adult third party is in Muldoon’s presence.

Muldoon is not to participate in any capacity in sports involving those under the age of 18.

The Star spoke with Muldoon on the afternoon of Oct. 6. He refused to comment on the case.

A voicemail was also left for Muldoon’s legal counsel, Jennifer Budgell, who hasn’t returned the call.

The Star is also waiting to speak with the WHMA about the case.

We will have more on this case as additional information comes to light.

Comments (3)

Up 1 Down 8

Himbo on Oct 13, 2021 at 7:23 am

So tickling someone’s feet is not considered assault? What the… we’ll make sure you call the police if you ever see someone tickling or carrying a kid on their shoulders.

Up 20 Down 3

Yukoner on Oct 9, 2021 at 8:05 am

First offender with a pattern of creepy AF behaviour. He needs a record so there is no chance he can ever be put in similar positions with youth. If this wasn't a white man surely the charges would be much more severe and there would be less concern for his "career"; how is that even something to be considered in this case!?

Up 27 Down 1

Jamie on Oct 8, 2021 at 3:57 pm

This Muldoon character is a creep. This Muldoon should not be around kids. He should be in prison. Sick bastard.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.