Sunday, June 9, 2024

Suing Firm In New Lawsuit Releases Details Of Blackhawks’ Cover-Up


Warning: The following article includes details of allegations of sexual assault.

It’s been two and a half years since former Blackhawks prospect Kyle Beach revealed he was “John Doe 1”, the player who reached a settlement regarding alleged sexual abuse from video coach Brad Aldrich. The infamous scandal came to light more than a decade after it was said to have happened during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. After Aldrich allegedly sexually abused other youth players, he was sentenced to nine months in jail, pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual assault of a high-school player.

In recent weeks, the reports have returned with a buzz on social media from outsiders who weren’t so pleased with the punishment handed to the Blackhawks by the NHL in 2021 – a $2 million fine. Fans were even more disgruntled when learning of the punishment of the Ottowa Senators for their role in a trade in 2021 (called a “clerical error” by some) – a forfeit of a future first-round draft pick. It’s been argued since the draft lottery that Chicago shouldn’t be given Connor Bedard this year, although punishment in the form of draft picks likely would have occurred last season.

In a press conference Monday, lawyers at Chicago firm Romanucci & Blandin spoke on behalf of another anonymous player, announcing he and the firm have filed a new lawsuit against the team. Senior attorney Jason Friedl outlined the alleged acts of Aldrich, who they say groomed, harassed, threatened, and assaulted the new plaintiff during John Doe’s recall from the AHL for the playoffs in 2010. The Hockey News detailed Aldrich’s alleged actions, per Romanucci & Blandin.

“Those allegations included sneaking up on the plaintiff while he was having sexual intercourse with a woman and rubbing his feet in the dark, sending photos of his genitals to the player, discussing oral sex with the plaintiff, playing pornography in front of players, offering to pay for sexual favors for the player on the condition he could watch, and ‘ultimately threatening our client’s career if he reported these actions.’”

– The Hockey News

The suit, which was filed Thursday, is not a new allegation, but rather a civil suit from the player that was referred to as “Black Ace 1” in the original report in 2021. The firm is seeking financial compensation for the damages.

Why Now?

Though the alleged acts occurred over a decade ago, John Doe was given the courage to speak out now after Beach did so in 2021, says the firm, and Beach will likely be asked to testify in this case. Additionally, the firm aims to put to the test a pledge from the Blackhawks to change and be a better organization. None of the employees involved in the original conduct currently work for the organization, and no current employees were named as defendants. Still, as the Blackhawks attempt to usher in a new era, they’ll likely have to right more than a few wrongs.

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