Monday, April 15 2024

A second former player in the Chicago Blackhawks organization has filed a lawsuit against the team, alleging that it mishandled claims of sexual abuse levied against a video coach during the 2009-10 NHL season.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Cook County, Illinois by a plaintiff identified only as John Doe. It comes a little more than two years after another player, Kyle Beach, publicly alleged that he had been sexually assaulted by the same coach, Brad Aldrich, during the team’s run to the 2010 Stanley Cup.

Attorneys who represent Doe said in a news conference Monday that Beach’s willingness to speak out about his experience in 2021 “gave (our client) the courage” to do the same now, adding that Beach will likely be asked to testify in the new case.

“This case is about institutional negligence at its worst,” one of the attorneys, Antonio Romanucci, said, “where the culture of win at all costs allowed a predator coach to abuse players at a time where the coach knew he could act with impunity.”

The Blackhawks said in a statement that they take all allegations of workplace misconduct seriously and have implemented organizational changes since Beach came forward in 2021.

“This includes completely rebuilding the leadership team with personnel who demonstrate our values and bring the right subject matter expertise in the critical areas of compliance and human resources, an expansive mental health program, and new reporting mechanisms and training for all employees,” the team said.

“Until we learn more about this pending litigation, we will refrain from commenting with any additional specifics.”

The new lawsuit alleges that Aldrich “groomed, harassed, threatened and assaulted” Doe during the 2009-10 season when Doe, like Beach, was a minor-league player in Chicago’s organization on the “Black Aces” – a group of prospects made available to play for the NHL team when needed.

Doe claims in the lawsuit that Aldrich “became overtly and aggressively sexual” toward Doe, including rubbing Doe’s feet while he was being intimate with a woman and sending Doe a picture of his genitals, among other allegations. He alleges that he reported the photo to the Blackhawks’ team president at the time, through his secretary, but no action was taken.

The timeline of Doe’s claims overlaps with those made by Beach, who came forward publicly in 2021. A team-commissioned investigation into Beach’s claims in 2021 found that Blackhawks brass were aware of the claims against Aldrich but failed to take action for three weeks after being notified. Aldrich, who told investigators that he had a sexual encounted with Beach but it was consensual, was permitted to resign at the end of the season.

The external investigation led to the departures of several Blackhawks executives, including senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac and general manager Stan Bowman, as well as a $2 million for the organization. Beach also later sued the Blackhawks; the two sides reached a settlement in December 2021.

Doe’s lawsuit includes six claims, including negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is seeking a jury trial and more than $300,000 in compensatory damages.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on social media @Tom_Schad.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Blackhawks sued by second former player over sexual abuse claims

Source: Yahoo Sports

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