Amended lawsuits filed this week in the Circuit Court of Cook County have revealed unsettling allegations against a one-time Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach accused of sexually assault a former player during a 2010 playoff run to a Stanley Cup.
After leaving the Blackhawks, former assistant coach Bradley Aldrich was convicted in 2013 in Michigan of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student and is now on that state’s registry of sex offenders, WBEZ reported.
According to an amended lawsuit against the Blackhawks filed Thursday, in 2010, Aldrich invited a player, who the suit referred to as "John Doe 1," to his apartment for the purpose of going over game clips and giving coaching advice. While the player was at Aldrich’s apartment, the coach turned on pornography and began to masturbate in front of plaintiff, court documents revealed.
The plaintiff attempted to leave the apartment, but Aldrich blocked the only exit, grabbed a souvenir Cubs' bat from his wall and physically threatened the plaintiff with the small bat, according to court filings. The coach, who threatened to ruin the plaintiff financially and destroy his career, engaged in nonconsensual activity with the player, forcibly touched the plaintiff and took part in other "lewd and lascivious conduct," documents stated.
According to the plaintiff, the Blackhawks knew or should have known of Aldrich's propensity to engage in sexual misconduct based on the history of repeated misconduct with players in prior coaching positions. In or around 2005, police reports were filed regarding inappropriate conduct with minor players Aldrich had coached on the Marquette Electricians hockey team in Michigan, court documents stated.
The original version of the lawsuit, filed in May, alleges Aldrich also assaulted another unidentified Blackhawks player.
Following the filing of the initial suit, an attorney for Aldrich told WBEZ that his client denies the allegations. In a May statement to the radio station, the Blackhawks said the allegations directed at it were groundless.
The team has been accused of negligent supervision, negligent hiring and retention, willful and wanton conduct, strict liability and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A separate amended suit was filed in regard to the case of a victim referred to as "John Doe 2," who was sexually assaulted in March of 2013 as a 16-year-old hockey player at Houghton High School in Michigan, according to documents.
The lawsuit stated the "Blackhawks provided a positive review and/or employment verification of Aldrich to Houghton High School and failed to inform subsequent employers of the sexual assault and other sexual misconduct by Aldrich upon one or more of its players.”
The team’s president of hockey operations and general manager refused to answer a question about a meeting concerning the allegations 11 years ago that he was reported to be part of. Bowman cited ongoing litigation, as well as an investigation being run by a formal federal prosecutor.
“We take this very seriously," Bowman said when asked about the situation. “I take this very seriously. But we have to let the process play itself out. That’s where things are today. We’re going to let this play itself out.”