Blackhawks former assistant coach faces sexual assault lawsuits.
An unidentified former Chicago Blackhawks player (listed in court documents only as John Doe) filed a lawsuit last month in Cook County Circuit Court against the team alleging a former assistant coach sexually assaulted him “in 2010 during a playoff run to a Stanley Cup title and the team did nothing,” even after he reported it. This allegedly allowed him to assault other players. Former assistant coach Bradley Aldrich was convicted in 2013 in Michigan of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student. He is now a registered sex offender, and the online Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry lists Aldrich as 38 with an address in Hancock, Michigan.
“Inaction by the Blackhawks helped enable Aldrich to go on and assault the Michigan student, and possibly others,” said Susan Loggans, the former player’s attorney. “This entire man’s life has been destroyed. These professional athletes have to function at the top of their game at all times in order to be competitive, and these things are really debilitating.”
The lawsuit alleges Aldrich also assaulted another unidentified Blackhawks player, and seeks more than $150,000 in damages. According to court documents, players “told form-skills coach Paul Vincent in May 2010 of inappropriate behavior by Aldrich.” However, Vincent asserts he brought forth this knowledge to executives, including team President John McDonough and general manager Stan Bowman, asking that the incidents be reported to the Chicago police. Yet, his requests were rejected. According to the lawsuit, “the former player (also) reported the allegation at the time to the team’s then-mental skills coach, James F. Gary.” Yet, Gary “convinced plaintiff that the sexual assault was his fault.”
“I feel a weight has been lifted off of me,” Vincent said. “I will stand up in court and say what happened. I know what the team did to cover this up and coming forward was the right thing to do.”
The lawsuit notes, “Aldrich, then a video coach for the Blackhawks, turned on porn and began to masturbate in front of the player without his consent.” It continues, “Aldrich also threatened to physically, financially and emotionally hurt the player if he did not engage in sexual activity with him.”
The former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting filed a separate lawsuit against the Blackhawks, saying “the Blackhawks provided positive references to future employers of Aldrich despite allegations from at least one player and took no action to report the matter.” That suit continues, “The student was a hockey player at Houghton High School near Hancock in 2013 when Aldrich sexually assaulted him at an end-of-season gathering.”
Had the Blackhawks accurately reported what had occurred with John Doe 1 instead of covering it up, the second player would not have been in a vulnerable position because Aldrich would never have been allowed to continue getting that close to the players. Aldrich resigned as director of hockey operations at Miami University of Ohio in 2012 “under suspicion of unwanted touching of a male adult.” The school said it has launched an internal investigation.
An attorney for Aldrich said his client denies the allegations, and in May, the Blackhawks submitted a statement saying, “The allegations directed at it are groundless.”