Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Penguins Mentions Bill Guerin (UPDATES)

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Here are all the developments in the Pittsburgh Penguins lawsuit which pertain to Bill Guerin:

Dec. 8, ~9:00 am CT: Rick Westhead of TSN reports on a lawsuit filed by Jarrod Skalde against the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Warning: Most outgoing links in this story include detailed descriptions of an incident of sexual assault.)

The report detailed Skalde’s lawsuit, which alleged that when he was an assistant coach at Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, WBS head coach Clark Donatelli sexually assaulted Skalde’s wife, Erin, while on a team road trip in November 2018. Skalde reported the incident to Guerin, who was Pittsburgh’s assistant general manager and served as WBS’ GM, on June 21, 2019. On June 28, WBS announced Donatelli’s resignation, citing “personal reasons.”

Westhead wrote in the report, “Skalde alleges that seven months later, when the incident was brought to the attention of [Guerin], Guerin told Skalde to keep quiet about the alleged assault.”

Later in the article, Westhead quotes Line 52 of the complaint, which further details the conversation between Skalde and Guerin.

Guerin later advised Mr. Skalde that the Penguins were terminating Mr. Donatelli’s employment, but instructed [Jarrod] that knowledge of the incident and termination had to be suppressed, cautioning that it “has to stay quiet and can’t be let out.”

Dec. 8, 10:37 am CT: Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette publishes an article on the lawsuit, which later included a PDF of Skalde’s complaint in full.

The article detailed Guerin speaking with reporters on the day WBS announced Donatelli’s resignation: “Guerin was vague about the circumstances that led to Donatellii’s departure from the organization. He indicated that the resignation didn’t come out of nowhere, saying the Penguins had ‘a number of discussions’ about Donatelli’s future and June 27 ‘was the day’ that he resigned.”

Guerin is directly mentioned in the complaint three times. The first is Lines 41-43.

41. …Mr. Donatelli pledged to Mr. and Mrs. Skalde that he would change his ways, seek help, and come forward to The Penguins’ Assistant General Manager Billy Guerin with what he had done.

42. After Mr. Donatelli failed to follow through with his commitments, Mr. Skalde reported Mr. Donatelli’s conduct to Mr. Guerin at the NHL Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 21, 2019.

43. In response, Mr. Guerin assured Mr. Skalde that he would take care of the situation.

The second is the previously quoted-in-full Line 52. The third is in Line 87 and refers to the events of Line 42.

Skalde’s complaint does allege a pattern of inappropriate sexual conduct from Donatelli and further alleges that “the Penguins knew about and tolerated,” but no specific Penguins executives were named as having knowledge. (Lines 35-38, 76-79, 83-84.)

Dec. 8, ~4:15p – ~6:15 pm: The Star Tribune’s Sarah McLellan and The Athletic’s Michael Russo publish articles reporting on the details of the complaint. Russo’s report makes clear that Guerin himself is not being sued by Skalde.

Dec, 8, ~7:37 pm CT: The Minnesota Wild and Guerin each release a statement to the media.

Dec. 9, ~11:50 am CT: The Athletic reporter Michael Russo further addressed the lawsuit as pertaining to Guerin on KFAN. The full clip can be heard here.

Russo summarized the complaint, but specifically took issue with Westhead’s reporting that Guerin instructed Skalde to “keep quiet.”

“Guerin apparently said this,” Russo explained, “but he said that after he dealt with it. The way it’s characterized in TSN, it made it sound like Skalde came to him and Guerin said ‘Keep this quiet,’ when the reality is he told the Penguins right away, he was horrified by it and would deal with it.”

He concluded his thoughts on Guerin’s involvement with the case, saying, “I read the lawsuit, Guerin is a minor part of it — 40 items in — and I think it really was mischaracterized for a long time yesterday. Whatever Guerin said to Skalde, maybe it wasn’t the right words at the time, but I can tell you that according to the lawsuit it is very clear that Guerin dealt with this. Within one week of him finding out seven months after the incident, the coach was fired.”

This story will be updated as further developments arise.

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