Ex-Kings player Slava Voynov spent two months in jail for domestic abuse, but is at Olympics representing Russia
Blood seemed to be everywhere when Redondo Beach police officer Gregory Wiist toured the master bedroom of the multimillion-dollar home on Avenue C.
Around the bed. In the shape of a handprint on the wood floor. On the comforter. In a trail leading to the bathroom.
Marta Varlamova sobbed as Wiist interviewed her around midnight on Oct. 19, 2014. The distraught woman told the officer that her husband Slava Voynov, then a standout defenseman for the Los Angeles Kings, attacked her.
“My blood, all over bedroom and bathroom,” Varlamova said in a recording. “And it’s not first time.”
She added: “He’s very aggressive every time.”
Three years and four months later, Voynov is playing for the Olympic Athletes from Russia, known as OAR, at the Pyeongchang Games.
After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse, he served almost two months in jail in 2015. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement then took him into custody and he returned to Russia rather than go through deportation proceedings. The Kings terminated his six-year, $25-million contract.
Voynov remains suspended from the NHL. The league blocked him from participating in the World Cup in 2016. But Voynov, who plays professionally for SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League, is welcome at the Olympics.
“We have been reassured by the Russian National Olympic Committee … that ‘no court or other official decision has been ever rendered which would prevent Mr. Voynov from competing in international competitions and enjoying his athlete’s rights on an equal footing with other athletes,’” the IOC said in a statement to The Times. “They have stressed that, ‘The court decision taken in the United States of America with regard to Mr. Voynov has been completely executed.’”
Spokesmen for the OAR and the International Ice Hockey Federation, the sport’s governing body, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
During the television broadcast of OAR’s 4-0 win over the U.S. on Saturday, NBC analyst Mike Milbury seemed to downplay the assault after play-by-play broadcaster Kenny Albert laid out the details of the case and subsequent suspension by the NHL.
“This guy was a special player,” Milbury said, “and an unfortunate incident left the Los Angeles Kings without a great defenseman.”
After the game, Voynov wasn’t available in the mixed zone interview area, and isn’t believed to have spoken to any Western media during the Games. His Russian team won Group B in round-robin play and will open single-elimination playoff action on Wednesday.
Dozens of pages of graphic, uncomfortable court documents and police records detail the violent night that bloodied Varlamova.
While the couple argued during a Halloween party for Kings players, Voynov removed his wife’s costume glasses, stomped on them and punched her in the left jaw, the police report said.
The dispute resumed when they returned home. Varlamova told police Voynov choked her with both hands three times.
“Voynov pushed her to the ground approximately six to seven times with both hands, telling her that he wanted a divorce and to ‘Get out,’” the report said.
At the time, attorneys for Voynov and Varlamova described the encounter as an accident.
Police responded to the Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, where Varlamova sought treatment, and found she had bruising and swelling in addition to the cut, plus “red marks and scratches” around her neck, the report said.
A social worker at the hospital, Justin Weber, asked Varlamova about any previous incidents of domestic violence involving Voynov. Weber testified she responded: “This is not the first time.” A nurse said she received a similar answer from Varlamova. And a security guard testified she said of her husband: “He hit me.”
“According to the victim, she is scared of the defendant and he is very aggressive when he drinks,” Voynov’s probation report said. “She admitted this was not the first time the defendant has struck her.”
In court filings, defense attorneys said police didn’t provide Varlamova with a translator, termed their questions “coercive” and claimed the officers had “already decided upon a version of events.”
Varlamova eventually refused to testify against her husband, but it didn’t matter.
Voynov accepted a plea bargain in July 2015 that reduced the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. In a statement released afterward, he accepted “responsibility for his actions the night of the incident,” but didn’t specify what they were.
The couple returned to Russia in September 2015. Voynov’s Olympics biography says the couple had a child last year and remain married.
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