Daryl Katz, the owner of the NHL’s hockey team the Edmonton Oilers, has been accused of statutory rape. The allegation is that he paid an underage ballerina named Sage Humphries $75,000 in exchange for sexual favors.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Daryl Katz’s father was a Jewish pharmacist who founded Value Drug Mart in Edmonton in the 1970s.
Now 24, Sage Humphries began dancing at the age of 24 and is currently affiliated with the Boston Ballet.
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The accusation of prostitution was actually made by a third party. It came in response to a suit that Sage Humphries and other dancers filed against dance teacher Mitchell Taylor Button and his wife, Dusty Button, accusing them of sexual abuse. But the Buttons claimed in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Nevada that they engaged in a consensual relationship with Humphries when she was already of age. They made the allegations against Daryl Katz as part of a filing in their ongoing case with Humphries.
“Humphries was literally a child prostitute to a billionaire,” said their court filing, “and her mother assisted her in laundering the money she was paid and in trafficking her to Katz.” And they say that they have images of text messages that Daryl Katz sent Sage Humphries.
Daryl Katz, 61, allegedly wrote to the mother at one point, “If my guys send u funds will u spend it on/keep it for yourself. And just between us? Even though u r wise beyond your years given our respective ages it would be taken the wrong way.”
Daryl Katz’s lawyer Robert Klieger told CBC News that his client denied having had a sexual relationship with Sage Humphries. Klieger said that they only spoke about a possible business venture and that the $75,000 that was discussed was related to it.
“One of Daryl’s friends connected him with Sage because Sage was working with some producing partners on shopping a motion picture project that they had put together, basically, and it was based in the ballet world,” explained Klieger. “”They ultimately decided to pass on the project. But during the period of time that the project was under consideration, they asked for some help to keep with the funding of the project to keep it going. And that’s the $75,000 that is at issue.”
According to his official team bio, Daryl Katz grew up a passionate Oilers fan. He has a deep connection with the team’s rich history and is focused on creating the foundation for a winning tradition and bringing the Stanley Cup back to the City of Champions.
Daryl Katz began building what is now Oilers Entertainment Group in 2008. Today, OEG houses Katz Group’s growing sports and entertainment businesses and operates Rogers Place, one of the leading sports and entertainment venues in North America. Rogers Place was designed and built in a landmark collaboration between Katz Group and the City of Edmonton.