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Tieja MacLaughlin, Canadian Reporter, Charged With Felony Harassment

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Tieja MacLaughlin is a news and sports freelance reporter from Kelowna, B.C.
Tieja MacLaughlin is a news and sports freelance reporter from Kelowna, B.C.

Tieja MacLaughlin, the B.C. reporter who was arrested for allegedly threatening her hockey player boyfriend, has been formally charged with felony harassment domestic violence.

The Benton County prosecutor's office in Washington state confirmed the charge to The Huffington Post B.C. on Thursday. Bail has been set at $50,000. MacLaughlin is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday where she could argue for a lower bail amount, said deputy prosecuting attorney Brendan Siefken.

MacLaughlin, 25, has been in U.S. custody since Saturday when she was arrested in Kennewick, Wash. for allegedly telling her boyfriend Jackson Playfair that he would be "dead by the end of the night," according to court documents.

A week ago, MacLaughlin and Playfair, 19, had a heated phone conversation in which he admitted cheating on her with another girl, according to documents filed with Washington Superior Court on Thursday. She became upset and allegedly threatened to kill him several times during the phone call.

Playfair told police she had threatened to hurt him and herself in previous arguments, said the documents. Playfair told MacLaughlin to cancel their planned weekend and stay in Kelowna where she lives. When he realized MacLaughlin was driving across the border anyway, Playfair called police because "based on the defendant's prior threats and her presence in the Tri-Cities, [he] became worried that she might carry out her threats to kill," said court documents.

When police met MacLaughlin at a Kennewick motel, she denied making the threats and told them Playfair had "threatened to ruin her career and her life." Police warned her she would be arrested if she continued to contact the player. Later that day, Playfair reported that MacLaughlin sent him 20 to 25 more text messages after police left.

Felony harassment carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. But Siefken said it's unlikely MacLaughlin would face that, due to her lack of a criminal history.

The domestic violence reference attached to the charge is because under Washington state statute, MacLaughlin and Playfair were in a "current or former dating relationship," explained Siefken. The couple had been dating on and off since last summer.

Playfair is the son of Jim Playfair, an NHL assistant coach, and the nephew of Larry Playfair, who also played in the NHL.

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