2nd ex-Chicago Blackhawks player accuses former coach of sexual assault – National

A second former Chicago Blackhawks player has come forward with allegations that he was sexually assaulted by then-video coach Brad Aldrich during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010.

The player, identified only as John Doe in court documents, is suing the Blackhawks for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress to the tune of US$300,000 in damages.

The lawsuit comes about two years after former first-round pick Kyle Beach reached a settlement with the Blackhawks over similar allegations that took place during the 2010 Stanley Cup championship season. In fact, lawyers for John Doe say he was inspired to come forward because of Beach.

Click to play video: 'Kyle Beach extended interview: Former Blackhawks player on why he came forward'

Kyle Beach extended interview: Former Blackhawks player on why he came forward

“Certainly, having somebody like Kyle Beach, who was a known player, someone who was very well known, to come forward — that’s what gave him the courage,” lawyer Antonio Romanucci said of his client.

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“People say, ‘Oh, this is a money grab’ — it’s not. I mean, ultimately, there will be hopefully some financial compensation for him. But there is no doubt that in these situations, people who have been abused sexually take time for them to come forward,” he added. “And when they see that other people come forward, that gives them a path to follow.”

The lawsuit, filed last week in Cook County Circuit Court, claims that the Blackhawks organization ignored John Doe’s sexual assault allegations against coach Aldrich, and put “Stanley Cup Championship aspirations ahead of the welfare of its players and provided cover to a sexual predator.”

Aldrich has never faced charges for his alleged abuse of Blackhawks players, but in December 2013, he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in a case involving a 16-year-old high school hockey player in Michigan. Prosecutors dropped a felony count. Aldrich was released from jail in 2014.

The allegations

Both John Doe and Beach were part of the “Black Aces” squad, made up of minor-league players who travelled with the Blackhawks during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs to fill in in case of injuries. At the time of the alleged abuse, John Doe was 19 to 20 years old, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Aldrich invited Black Aces players to his home under the guise of discussing hockey strategy but later attempted to make players watch pornographic movies with him.

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The lawsuit claims that Aldrich offered to perform oral sex on John Doe, and once approached him from behind, “grabbed him in a hugging gesture, and ground his penis against John Doe’s back and buttocks through his clothes,” the suit reads.

It further alleges that Aldrich surprised John Doe while the player was having sex with a woman by rubbing his feet in an apparent attempt to join the encounter, and offered to pay for him to receive “sexual favors” if Aldrich could watch. Aldrich is also accused of texting the player pictures of his penis and threatening John Doe’s career if he reported his behaviour to the organization.

The suit claims that Aldrich’s “predatory tendencies” were “well-known” to the Blackhawks at the time, and John Doe notified the team president’s secretary as well as a team counsellor about the misconduct.

In response to John Doe’s lawsuit, the Blackhawks said that it has already made reforms within the organization after the allegations against Aldrich first came to light.

“We’ve changed as a result of what happened and implemented numerous positive improvements throughout our organization to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our players and employees,” the team said.

“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.”

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The changes stemmed from an independent investigation launched by the Blackhawks after Beach sued the team in 2021.

In his lawsuit, Beach said he was 20 years old at the time he was victimized by Aldrich. The ex-coach allegedly threatened him with a souvenir baseball bat before forcibly performing oral sex on him and masturbating on the player’s back.

The investigation, conducted by law firm Jenner & Block, found that the Blackhawks badly mishandled Beach’s case.

Click to play video: 'Investigation reveals Blackhawks covered up Kyle Beach’s 2010 sex assault accusation against video coach'

Investigation reveals Blackhawks covered up Kyle Beach’s 2010 sex assault accusation against video coach

About two weeks after the alleged misconduct in 2010, there was a meeting with top executives and staff to discuss Beach’s claims. The meeting took place on May 23, right after Chicago advanced to the Stanley Cup Final, and included general manager Stan Bowman, top hockey executive Al MacIsaac, team president John McDonough, executive vice-president Jay Blunk, assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, coach Joel Quenneville and mental skills coach Jim Gary.

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Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who led the investigation, said accounts of the meeting “vary significantly.” But there was no evidence that anything was done about the accusations before McDonough contacted the team’s director of human resources on June 14 — a delay that violated the franchise’s sexual harassment policy, according to Schar.

By the time the report was published, McDonough, Blunk and Gary were already out of the NHL. But Bowman resigned in the wake of the independent review, and MacIsaac also departed the organization.

Quenneville then resigned as Florida Panthers coach, but Cheveldayoff remained in his position as Winnipeg general manager.

The NHL also fined the Blackhawks US$2 million after the investigation.

John Doe’s lawyer Romanucci said Beach will probably be a witness in the case “in some way, shape and form.”

— With files from The Associated Press

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If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

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