Embattled Ottawa Senators assistant GM Randy Lee resigns

Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee has resigned amid harassment accusations, marking another key hole to fill for the local team as it attempts to rebuild its executive ranks.

The team made the announcement shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday in a brief press 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 pre-draft scouting combine this spring.

Lee, who also served as GM of Ottawa's AHL affiliate in Belleville, was arrested 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 Tuesday he is not in a position to fulfil his obligations with the Senators while his legal case is ongoing.

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 press release that they would have "no further comment on the matter."

Ottawa's assistant GM for the last five seasons, Lee was scheduled to appear in a Buffalo court 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 exit comes as the local NHL outfit continues to shake up its executive ranks.

Former president and CEO Ton Anselmi, who himself replaced longtime chief Cyril Leeder in 2017, left the organization in February. Owner Eugene Melnyk has assumed the CEO role in the meantime.

In June the Sens added veteran communications manager Nicolas Ruszkowski as their first-ever chief operations officer. Last month, the organization hired Aimee Deziel as its chief marketing officer.

– With files from OBJ staff and the Associated Press