Chicago Blackhawks Lawsuit: Psychologist Says Sexual Assault Survivors Often Suppress Memories | Hockey
The lawyer for a former Chicago Blackhawk who is suing the team filed an affidavit from a psychologist on Thursday to support his claim that the player has long suppressed his memory of an alleged sexual assault in 2010 by Brad Aldrich , then the team’s video coach.
“Shame, embarrassment, fear and avoidance of complainant victimization are common among survivors of sexual assault, and it often takes years for survivors of sexual assault to process their victimization,” the report said. psychologist Julie Medlin in the affidavit, according to court documents provided to the Tribune. “These survivors often use avoidance as a primary coping mechanism after the assault and try to move on with their lives, without recognizing or dealing with the emotional damage caused by the assault.”
The Blackhawks have filed motions to dismiss the player’s lawsuit as well as another lawsuit filed by a former Michigan high school hockey player with whom Aldrich admitted to having sexual contact after leaving the National Hockey League . Among other arguments, the team says the statute of limitations should prevent the ex-Blackhawk’s action from continuing.
The former Hawk, whose lawsuit accuses the team of covering up his complaint against Aldrich, said in court documents he suppressed the memory of the alleged sexual assault for nine years, until he learns of Aldrich’s conviction in the Michigan case in July 2019.
The Hawks say the repressed memory claim does not pass the legal test and that the statute of limitations should apply.
In her record in Cook County Circuit Court, the player’s former lawyer Susan Loggans responded with an affidavit from Medlin, a psychologist and sexual abuse expert based in Marietta, Ga., Who interviewed the player. in late 2020 to assess his credibility and determine if he had deleted memories from 2010.
According to his lawsuit, filed under the pseudonym John Doe, Aldrich threatened and forcibly touched the former Hawks player around May 2010 after Aldrich invited him to dinner and to watch the video of the game in his apartment. ‘Aldrich.
Then-team coach Paul Vincent said he briefed team officials on the alleged incident, as well as another misconduct complaint filed by one of the teammates of John Doe, but he said the team chose not to report Aldrich to Chicago police.
The Hawks won the Stanley Cup the following month.
“Sir. Doe reported to me that he was sexually assaulted by his video coach, Brad Aldridge (sic)… during the playoffs in 2010,” Medlin said, according to the affidavit. “When he reported this to the team psychologist, he received no support or intervention from the team, and it was clear to him that he had to keep quiet about the assault or risk losing his hockey career . “
Medlin said in the affidavit that John Doe spent the next nine years “ignoring and suppressing memories of the assault,” which he said matches the typical psychological reactions of assault survivors, especially victims of assault. athletes.
“It was in line with what a young professional athlete would do in this situation because he loved hockey and wanted to continue his career,” said Medlin.
Medlin said the player and his career “took a downward spiral” after the incident with Aldrich, “resulting in emotional breakdown” while playing professional hockey abroad. The player did not disclose the incident to a doctor on his new team, Medlin said, “because of his shame, his previous interaction with the Blackhawks athletic therapist and his mistrust of doctors and psychologists on the team “.
John Doe argued in his lawsuit that after the incident with Aldrich he began counseling sessions with Blackhawks mental skills coach James F. Gary, but Gary “convinced the complainant that the sexual assault was his fault, that he was guilty of what had happened, made mistakes when meeting the abuser and allowed the sexual assault to occur.
Gary, through his attorney, disputed John Doe’s account.
Medlin’s affidavit said John Doe “experienced significant emotional distress” when he learned of Aldrich’s conviction in 2013 in Houghton, Michigan. Aldrich pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct with the then 16-year-old high school hockey player over an incident earlier that year.
The former student-athlete, using the pseudonym John Doe 2, also sued the Hawks for negligence.
One of the Hawks’ arguments in this case is that John Doe 2’s high school never verified Aldrich’s employment with the Hawks and therefore the team did not have a duty to notify the school. of Aldrich’s story.
In an interview with the Tribune, Loggans said, “We contend that by giving Aldrich a day with the Stanley Cup (September 14, 2010) there was non-verbal representation to everyone in Houghton, Michigan that this guy is part of our team; he is great.”
A Hawks spokesperson on Thursday declined to respond to the case.
The Hawks announced on June 28 that they had hired Jenner & Block to investigate the allegations of John Doe 1. On August 2, the team pledged to publicly share the findings of the review and “implement changes.” to remedy the findings and shortcomings of our organization ”.
The investigation is ongoing.