Lightning suspend Ian Cole amid investigation by league

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The Tampa Bay Lightning suspended defenseman Ian Cole on Sunday night in the midst of an investigation of sexual abuse allegations that were made on social media earlier this week.

In an anonymous statement posted on Friday, a Twitter user said that Cole had groomed her for four years and started doing so when she was a minor in high school. The post also stated that Cole pressured her to have sex with him, made derogatory misogynistic comments and was dismissive when confronted about his behavior.

Tampa Bay is currently working with the NHL to investigate the accusations.

Lightning suspend Ian Cole

“Our organization takes these allegations very seriously,” the Lightning said in a statement. “While we continue to gather more details, we have decided to suspend Ian Cole pending the results of an investigation. No members of the organization, including players, will comment further at this time.”

Cole denies the claims that were made in the anonymous tweet.

“I take the allegations made against me in an anonymous tweet very seriously,” Cole said in a statement through his agent. “I completely deny these allegations and will fully cooperate with the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning, their officials and legal departments in the forthcoming investigation.

“I look forward to clearing my name and demonstrating to the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning that these allegations are unfounded. I will have no further comment until the NHL’s investigation concludes.”

Cole, 33, will be entering his 13th season. He spent last season with the Carolina Hurricanes before signing a one-year deal with the Lightning valued at $3 million.

–Field Level Media