Rick Butler, a well-known youth volleyball coach accused of sexually abusing underage girls in the 1980s, has been hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging that he raped teenagers under his supervision hundreds of timeshttps://t.co/YvmBG4m17u— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 28, 2018
A top volleyball coach, Rick Butler, has been accused of raping at least six girls hundreds of time starting in the 1980s.
According to the federal lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, Butler manipulated young players and sexually abused them.
Laura Mullen, the mother of a former player who trained under Butler, filed the 72-page lawsuit that seeks more than $5 million in damages.
Butler and wife Cheryl, along with their training facility and the Sports Performance Volleyball Club in Aurora, Illinois, are named in the suit, which accuses the couple of hiding the history of alleged abuse.
The couple was also accused of intimidating the alleged victims so they wouldn't go public with their assault stories. Several of the victims were also mentioned in the complaint.
Christine Tuzi, one of the accusers, says she was 16 when the coach raped her for the first time. He then allegedly continued to assault her for several years.
In 2016, Tuzi told the News York Daily News that Butler had ordered her to “get rid of it” when he found out she was carrying his child at the age of 19. Horrifying as it may sound, the lawsuit said he took her to an abortion clinic and immediately after the measure, took her to a hotel room where he forced her to perform a sexual act on him.
Another young victim, Sarah Powers-Barnhard, also accused Butler of raping her at the age of 16. She said he forced her to watch pornographic films so she could “learn” and secretly molested her in public.
The alleged rapist, described as “one of the most dominant youth volleyball coaches in the country,” was supposed to be an inspiration to the rising stars.
“Butler used his position of power as an influential and nationally known volleyball coach to gain leverage over the girls and their parents,” the lawsuit read. “[He] used abusive emotional, psychological and physical tactics and intimidation to prevent the girls from stopping the sexual abuse or revealing the abuse to others.”
Like all the other famous men accused of similar behavior, such as Harvey Weinstein and Larry Nassar, allegations against Butler were made public years ago in 1995. However, not much was done to address the “rumors,” as he recovered from the scandal and continued to surrounded himself with young girls.
It could have been a lifetime ban then and there for him, had U.S.A. Volleyball not overruled the allegations. If the organization had acted immediately, it could have saved his victims even more agony.
Since the allegations from more than 20 years ago, Butler has trained more than “20,000 teenage girls,” as reported by the Sun-Times last year.
Following the report, sports associations such as U.S.A Volleyball and Amateur Athletic Union banned him.
Mullen and other parents of Butler’s alleged victims said they regretted sending their daughters to train under the alleged “child sexual predator.”
In a statement issued by Butler’s lawyer last year, he said his client “never sexually abused any individual.” However, the coach has reportedly admitted to having sex with three of the accusers but insisted it was consensual and the girls were not minors.
Mullen’s attorney, Jay Edelson, told BuzzFeed News that his office had received “many calls and emails from people offering to provide further evidence in support of our lawsuit.”
“We look forward to continuing our investigation and prosecuting this action,” he said.
Furthermore, the lawsuit also indicated that Butler “has a special relationship with Michigan State University.” The school is already under fire over the disgrace brought on by the former sports doctor and convicted rapist, Larry Nassar.
The story also encouraged another alleged victim to come forward and accuse Butler of raping her in a shower when she was a sophomore player and then tried taking her to Sybaris Suites.
The fact that Butler’s alleged sexual misconduct was an open secret and yet it took more than 20 years for people to actually look into it highlights the magnitude of sexual abuse faced by women in the United States.
"'It was so long ago' — Ok, never say that to a victim. Never, never, never. That's so belittling." Watch as two of volleyball coach Rick Butler's accusers tell their story: https://t.co/p5ijb0oWRE via @Suntimes— Jon Seidel (@SeidelContent) November 29, 2017
I played for the men team for Sport Performance and always heard from the girls about weight restrictions and things like that. There were always whispers about the disgusting things he would do. This should have been stopped years ago— ross nicklas (@RossNicklas) March 1, 2018
Some of you might not like this, but thank god for Harvey Weinstein. Why do I say that? Well, because of him, the #MeToo movement gained stride & so many other predators have been exposed. As it is unfortunate that he committed such acts, less people will be able to do the same.— Hello (@philthadelphian) March 1, 2018
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