((HT: Howard Bloom SBN/Regina Leader-Post))
The sexual assault case involving Saskatchewan Roughriders’ general manager Eric Tillman has been adjourned to March 17.
Tillman’s first appearance on the charge occurred Tuesday morning in Regina Provincial Court.
Tillman was not present and his lawyer, appearing on his behalf, did not enter a plea. The matter was simply adjourned to next month.
Senior Crown attorney Bill Burge — who prosecuted the aggravated sexual assault trial of former Riders linebacker Trevis Smith two years ago — has been assigned to the Tillman file.
A popular figure within the CFL and the Rider Nation, Tillman made headlines around the country when he was charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
The assault is alleged to have taken place on August 6, and was reported to police in Regina three days later. Tillman was charged on January 27, and the allegation became public knowledge several days after that.
Authorities have not released any details about the allegation.
Speaking at a press conference on February 3, Fox said he expected there could be “a lot of developments” before Tillman’s first court date, but that does not appear to have been the case so far.
Instead, prosecutor Lane Wiegers recently told the Regina Leader-Post the case is currently proceeding in the usual fashion — starting with this morning’s court appearance.
Sexual assault is a broad charge that can refer to any unconsensual action of a sexual nature, ranging from touching to intercourse. The Crown has not yet confirmed whether it will proceed summarily, the less serious way of treating a charge, or by indictment, which is more serious.
Tillman is currently on paid administrative leave from his position with the Riders organization.
At the February 3 press conference, Tillman told the media he’d been co-operative and truthful with authorities, and has faith in the process.
“You might imagine, this is not fun,” Tillman said at the time. “There are a lot of other things that I would like to say but out of respect for the individuals who are involved, many of whom I have profound respect for, I can simply say I told the truth. The process will unfold and I ask you to judge it as it goes forward and as the facts and truth are told.”
The 51-year-old Tillman came to Regina to work with the Riders in August 2006, after general manager Roy Shivers was dismissed. Tillman’s popularity skyrocketed in 2007, when he hired Kent Austin as the team’s head coach, a decision that ultimately helped the Riders win the Grey Cup.