Blackhawks reinstate prospect Garret Ross after revenge porn charges dropped

Garret Ross

Criminal charges have been dropped against a Blackhawks prospect accused of sending revenge porn to a woman involved with one of his teammates, a spokeswoman for the DeKalb County state’s attorney said Tuesday.

Garret Ross, 23, who plays for the Hawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford, was charged with the felony last month after authorities alleged he shared an image of a woman engaged in a sexual act without her consent. The team suspended him indefinitely after learning about the criminal case last week.

Prosecutors dropped the case after learning Ross was in his home state of Michigan when he shared the image, meaning Illinois law enforcement has no jurisdiction. The case was officially dropped Tuesday afternoon, DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack said.

The woman in the video lives in Sycamore and had filed a complaint with her local police department.

“This is not a crime that occurred in the state of Illinois,” Schmack said. “Further investigation revealed that Ross and the recipient were both in Michigan at the time.”

The Hawks announced Tuesday night they have reinstated Ross from his indefinite suspension with the Rockford IceHogs.

Ross’ attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

The woman in the video told authorities in September she had been in a romantic relationship with one of Ross’ IceHogs teammates but ended it when she learned he had a girlfriend. During their relationship, she said she exchanged nude video and pictures with the player, according to police reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The player and his girlfriend broke up after the girlfriend learned he was meeting other women via Tinder, according to the woman’s statement to police. Ross’ girlfriend also dumped him for the same Tinder-related reason, the woman said.

Both players blamed the Sycamore woman for “spreading lies” to their girlfriends, though the woman denied their allegation, the report states.

The woman asked that both Ross and his teammate — whose name was redacted from the police records — be charged criminally. The teammate has not been charged, police said.

Ross was charged Feb. 2 after a four-month investigation in which investigators obtained a search warrant for his cellphone. He was released on bond and given permission to travel out of state while he awaited trial.

The winger continued to play for the IceHogs after he was charged. He has played in 59 games and has seven goals and 13 assists, but he has not played since mid-March. Ross, whom the Hawks drafted in the fifth round in 2012, never has played a game for the Hawks and will be a restricted free agent after the season.

Revenge porn became a felony in Illinois in June, making the crime punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. The law also requires the forfeiture of any money or goods received in exchange for posting the images.

The woman could still file a complaint in Michigan, though the state’s laws are not as strict as the Illinois law.

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