1706375475 The Darkest Days of Mike Ribeiro Account of the first

The Darkest Days of Mike Ribeiro: Account of the first week of a gruesome trial

An alleged victim desperately leaving the room, a very explicit depiction of the sexual assault that was allegedly committed. Since Tuesday, a thousand miles from the glory he experienced on NHL rinks, Mike Ribeiro has found himself at the center of a gruesome trial that could land him up to 20 years in prison in what are considered the darkest days of his life already punctuated by several episodes of decline.

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In the courtroom of Mount Vernon, a small, very rural community of 2,500 residents in Franklin County, two hours' drive from Dallas, the atmosphere has been very tense since Tuesday, describe our colleagues from KLVT, an East Texas television station with which Le Journal works .

On one side of this room, which can accommodate around 70 people, we find the 43-year-old Montrealer, now living in California, surrounded by a large team formed to defend him.

However, only one of his relatives, a woman, has been by the father of three's side since the trial began, said JD Conde, a journalist at KLTV.

Little emotion and lots of notes

Ribeiro, who has not yet been called to the witness stand in the trial, which is expected to last until the end of next week, appeared very calm, explains Mr. Conde.

The Darkest Days of Mike Ribeiro Account of the first

Court portrait of Danny Crowell

Without showing much emotion, the Canadian's former top scorer, who scored almost 800 points in more than 1,000 NHL games, took a lot of notes during the testimony and spoke frequently with his lawyers.

On the other side of the room stand the three alleged victims, their legal team, their family members and friends of the three women, who appear to be having difficulty listening to the very detailed statements they are giving in court.

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Mike Ribeiro leaves Franklin County Court in Mount Vernon, Texas, Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Screenshot provided by KLTV

Two of them, whose names are not mentioned publicly, accuse Ribeiro of sexual assault. One was said to have been committed by penetration “with his sexual organ” and the other “with his finger,” according to course materials sent to the Journal.

The third alleged victim suffered from touching “her breasts and vagina,” according to the same documents.

On a jet ski and a boat

The alleged incidents allegedly occurred near Cypress Lake, on a jet ski and on a boat, on June 23, 2021, 15 minutes from this courtroom, where the former player, retired for seven years, has been since last Tuesday drives daily in a large black SUV.

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Photo Getty Images/AFP

Ribeiro, who earned more than $55 million during his career, owned a house there overlooking the lake at the time. He wanted to put it up for sale, the court heard, and with the idea of ​​viewing it with a view to possibly buying it, two of the alleged victims found themselves there that day.

“A [censuré] arrogant »

These two women met the ex-hockey player for the first time two days earlier in a restaurant in the region.

Mike Ribeiro leaves court in Mount Vernon, Texas, Thursday, January 25, 2024.

A friend of some of the alleged victims told the court on Tuesday that Ribeiro spoke to them afterwards.

She said she didn't remember exactly what he said to them, but did remember mentioning that “he was a… [censuré] arrogant”.

The next day she would have met the former Dallas Stars star again, in a different restaurant. At that point, Ribeiro allegedly approached her because his truck was parked near her car.

“He seemed like a normal person,” she told the judge and jury, adding that there was no conflict at the time.

“One glass! One glass!”

The witness explained that she and Ribeiro then exchanged phone numbers so that her two friends could visit her at home.

The former ice hockey player is said to have then sent him text messages, which were presented to the court, in which it can be read that he had invited her to his home for “a drink” that same day. A glass!”

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Franklin County Court in Mount Vernon, Texas, where the trial of Mike Ribeiro has been taking place since Monday, January 22, 2024. Screenshot provided by KLTV

The girlfriend of these alleged victims also revealed during her interrogation that Ribeiro allegedly tried to flirt with one of them.

In particular, he is said to have said that he wanted to kiss her without her showing any interest in his advances.

In her own statement, the alleged victim agreed, adding in court that the text messages had made her “uncomfortable.”

“Traumatic Flashes”

The following day, about ten people were found in Ribeiro's house, including the three women who were victims of the attack.

One of those alleged attacks occurred on the Montrealer's boat, which one of the women was learning to drive.

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Archive photo, Le Journal

The acts were allegedly committed while she was at the helm of the boat and Ribeiro was in the driver's seat. There was also another person on board the boat.

She is said to have pushed his hand away and also shouted “Stop!” Stopped!” (“Cut it out!”, “Cut it out!”)

“I was told it was normal that I froze, but I felt like screaming,” she added, describing her memories of what she experienced as “traumatic flashes.”

“Sorry, I’m screwed.”

The second alleged victim explained in court that she was also sitting on the jet ski with Ribeiro at the time of the alleged crimes.

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Mike Ribeiro leaves Franklin County Court in Mount Vernon, Texas, Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Screenshot provided by KLTV

She allegedly elbowed him and told him to stop, to which he replied: “Sorry, I'm screwed.”

He then allegedly continued to touch her without her consent and the woman rode the jet ski to the shore where she found her mother, to whom she explained what had just happened.

During her own interrogation, the woman's mother explained that her daughter was crying and then told her they had to leave.

To the hospital for tests

The third woman, who was also allegedly attacked on a jet ski, is said to have been on board the boat when the former player was first touched.

She said she heard the woman, a friend of her aunt who didn't know her well, asking Ribeiro to stop.

When asked why she didn't immediately report what she allegedly saw, she said she didn't know “how to deal with it.” [how to process it]so I kept that to myself,” while a few hours later she mentioned that she felt “idiotic” when she was at the hospital for tests, as police had suggested.


One of the investigators in the case, who was summoned to court, said it was “extraordinary” that three alleged victims came forward with sexual assault reports.

One of them also had to take several breaks during her cross-examination, according to KLTV observations. In the end she left the room “in distress”.

The defense's questions mainly revolve around certain alleged victims deleting certain content on their mobile phones after the police forbade them to do so.

Specifically, they responded that the content they removed was “embarrassing,” but that the matter was unrelated.

The trial continues next week. The newspaper will continue to follow it in collaboration with KLTV.

The downfall of a former star

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Archive photo, Portal

Mike Ribeiro has always had a reputation as a party animal, but his immense potential on the ice was wasted by his excesses off the ice.

And his first run-ins with the law were nothing new. Here's a recap of the times the 43-year-old Montrealer has made headlines over the past 10 years for his setbacks and attempts to regain control.

  • 2015: Mike Ribeiro is being sued in civil court by a former nanny who demanded $1 million from him, saying she was attacked in her sleep. The case was settled out of court a few months later.
  • 2017: His agent, Bob Perno, says his client (who played his last NHL game in 2016-2017) hasn't heard from his loved ones in several months. Ribeiro later explained in an interview with TVA Sports that after retiring, he decided to “do whatever I want.” “I didn’t want to answer anyone. Maybe it wasn't the best way, but from a young age I did whatever was asked of me.
  • September 2017: Ribeiro is participating in the NHL rehabilitation program. Bob Perno then explains that he relapsed in his battle with alcohol.
  • October 2017: Ribeiro is arrested in Miami after being illegally on private property. His former wife paid his $1,000 bail.
  • 2020: In an interview with TVA SportsRibeiro says he has taken control of himself since he was 40. He explains that he wants to show his three children a different side of himself. He also expresses a desire to one day become an assistant coach with the Canadiens and help young hockey players develop. “I want to reach out to young people aged 14, 15 and 16 by telling them about my experiences. I want to try to make it clear to young people that when you think about the NHL, you can’t celebrate.”
  • April 13, 2022: Ribeiro was arrested and jailed in Franklin County on two counts of sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault on three women that he allegedly committed on June 23, 2021. He was released the same day after paying a $200,000 fine.
  • January 23, 2024: The trial to present DNA evidence collected at the site begins in Mount Vernon, East Texas. According to local media, if convicted, Ribeiro faces a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years in prison.