DENVER - Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov returned to court Monday morning to face a misdemeanor assault charge after his girlfriend said he attacked her.
The 25-year-old Varlamov appeared at a hearing Monday in Denver and was charged with third-degree assault.
The girlfriend told investigators he attacked her on Oct. 30 in her apartment.
According to an arrest affidavit, she said he knocked her down with a kick, stomped on her chest and dragged her by her hair.
She also says Varlamov told her he would have beaten her more if they had been in Russia.
Varlamov's attorney hasn't commented.
His agent has said he is innocent.
"Domestic violence cases are difficult," Denver District Attorney Communications Director Lynn Kimbrough said. "They are among the most difficult cases that we handle, often times there may not be an independent, third-party witness to a domestic violence case, and we rely on other pieces of evidence. There are certainly facts to this case that supporting the filing of a third-degree assault charge which is what we've gone forward on. And there are matters which are appropriate for a jury to decide. In any case, where there may be question around witness credibility, the credibility of a victim, once we file the charge, once we have the information, we go forward."
Varlamov is free on $5,000 bond and has been traveling and playing with the team. If convicted, his sentence could range from probation to two years in jail.
"It's not unusual for most of the defendants who go through the criminal court process to have obligations," Kimbrough said.
He is expected back in court for a plea and setting hearing on Jan. 22.
Varlamov is expected to be the starting goalie for Russia's hockey team at the Olympics in Sochi. The team has not been officially named yet.
With the start of the Olympics slated to start Feb. 6, it is not clear what will come of the scheduled court date.
"It would not be unexpected for this case to resolve itself with a guilty plea agreement, but a defendant also has the right to go to trial," Kimbrough said. "At this point, there is no way to predict how this case will resolve itself."
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