The family of a young soccer player recently sued the American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO) over claims of sexual assault.
The American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO) recently came under fire in a lawsuit filed by the family of a young soccer player over allegations of negligence that resulted in sexual abuse, according to Estey & Bomberger, a law firm based in San Diego. The suit was filed in Riverside County Superior Court earlier this week. It alleges the soccer group, which is affiliated with U.S. soccer, “enabled the sexual abuse of young boys by ignoring organization policies designed to protect players.”
According to the suit, the young victim was a “player for an AYSO club in Southern California and was placed into a soccer camp run by UK International Soccer, a British company with headquarters in Redlands that provides coaches to local AYSO programs.” The suit further claims that “UK International Soccer brought Stephen Morgan from the UK to Southern California on a work visa to coach AYSO players.” From there, the prestigious organization “persuaded the plaintiff’s family to house Morgan, who began grooming and then sexually abusing the young player who was 11 years old at the time,” the suit states.
In addition to the American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO), Morgan and UK International Soccer are named in the suit. The defendants are accused of “alleges child sexual assault, negligence, negligent hiring, supervision and retention, and negligent failure to warn, train or educate.”
When commenting on the suit, Stephen Estey, the child’s attorney, said:
“It doesn’t appear that any of the defendants did a background check on Morgan before allowing him access to the little boys and also placing him at my clients home, where he had direct access to my client…At no time did any of the defendants inform my client’s parents that no background check had been done on Morgan.”
To make matters worse, the lawsuit argues “AYSO officials, including a local child and volunteer protection advocate and board member, were aware Morgan had repeatedly violated AYSO policies against being alone with child players.”
Since the child confided in her mother about the abuse, Morgan has been arrested and charged with “eight counts of committing lewd acts with a child under 14.” Additionally, as part of a plea deal, Morgan pled guilty to three counts and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Estey said:
“The harm in this case, like every sexual abuse case, is significant…There’s been at least two suicide attempts and multiple other issues that require therapy.”