(VitalNews.org) – A former hockey player has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Blackhawks, accusing them of failing to deal with accusations of sexual abuse levelled at former coach Brad Aldrich. The anonymous complainant, represented by the Romanucci & Blandin law firm, claims that not only did Aldrich sexually assault him during the 2009-2010 season, but the Blackhawks failed to address the matter properly as they wished to avoid any disruption to the hockey season. The former player alleges that the team management was more concerned with the Stanley Cup than with appropriately handling allegations of abuse.
John Doe was a member of the Black Aces, a selection of players who are available to be called up to the team in case of, for example, injury to a usual roster player. Doe’s lawsuit alleges that Aldrich’s actions included rubbing himself against Doe from behind, trying to make him and other players watch pornographic videos at his house, and threatening Doe’s career in order to prevent him from reporting his lewd behavior.
The timeline of alleged incidents coincides with those that formed the basis of the lawsuit filed in 2021 by Doe’s teammate Kyle Beach. An investigation into Beach’s complaints against Aldrich found that the Blackhawks management failed to take action until three weeks after they received his complaints. Aldrich claimed that any encounter had been consensual and was allowed to simply resign at the end of the season. Beach and the Blackhawks agreed to a settlement outside of court.
Following news of Doe suing the Blackhawks for $300,000 compensation, the team released a statement in which they did not directly address the case, but claimed that they had made significant changes since the 2009-2010 season. The statement promises that the team’s leadership has been completely rebuilt with people who represent the team’s values, and that reporting mechanisms and employee training have been improved. Doe’s attorney Antonio Romanucci told reporters that the lawsuit was about ensuring teams are held accountable for their actions, and to warn other teams that such behavior cannot be accepted.
Aldrich, who resigned at the end of the 2009-2010 season, was jailed for several months in 2013 for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct against a 16-year-old hockey player. By pleading guilty he was able to have a felony charge against him dropped, and he was released from jail in 2014.
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