Content Warning: The following article contains references to sexual assault.
A former high school hockey player who alleges he was sexually abused by a former Chicago Blackhawks coach is suing the National Hockey League franchise for allegedly providing a positive employment reference to the coach despite knowing he was a sexual predator.
The plaintiff, who is referred to as “John Doe (2)” in court documents, alleges that former Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich, who no longer works for the franchise, sexually assaulted him on March 6, 2013, when Aldrich was an assistant coach on a high school team in Houghton, Mich., and the plaintiff was a 16-year-old player.
“At an end of season gathering for the players, Aldrich provided alcohol to the then minor plaintiff and performed oral sex on the plaintiff without his consent,” the six-page lawsuit says.
The lawsuit was filed on May 26 in Cook Circuit Court in Chicago. The plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000. Blackhawks spokesman Adam Rogowin declined to comment.
"As this is a pending litigation matter, it would be inappropriate for us to comment," he wrote in an email to TSN.
The lawsuit was filed weeks after an unnamed member of the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks team sued the franchise over Aldrich’s alleged behaviour. In that case, the plaintiff, referred to as “John Doe,” alleged Aldrich was watching pornography and began to masturbate in front of the player without his consent in May 2010.
The former Blackhawks player also alleged that Aldrich also sent him “inappropriate text messages” and threatened him “physically, financially and emotionally” if he “did not engage in sexual activity.”
According to the former NHL player’s claim, the then-Blackhawks player reported Aldrich's alleged misconduct in May 2010 to James F. Gary, the team’s mental skills coach. Gary allegedly convinced the former player that the sexual assault was his fault and had permitted the assault to occur.
Referring to the former NHL player's lawsuit, the former high school player alleges that the Blackhawks failed to properly respond to the allegation of sexual assault by Aldrich and failed to investigate, adjudicate and terminate his employment.
Instead, the former high school player’s suit alleges the NHL team “Provided positive references to future employers for Bradley Aldrich as a hockey coach despite having knowledge of his sexual assaults and failed to report Bradley Aldrich to any hockey or coaching organizations of oversight.”
The former high school player’s lawyer, Susan Loggans, wrote in court documents that the Blackhawks acted “with utter indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others, including plaintiff.”
According to Chicago radio station WBEZ, Aldrich is now 38 and was convicted in 2013 of an unrelated fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student in Michigan. It’s unclear whether that student is “John Doe (2).” Aldrich is a registered sex offender in Michigan, WBEZ reported.