The Blackhawks filed Friday a motion to dismiss the negligence lawsuit filed against them by the Michigan high school hockey player who was sexually assaulted by former Hawks video coach Bradley Aldrich in 2013.
The Hawks now have motions to dismiss pending in both lawsuits against them, having filed such a motion June 14 in the lawsuit filed by the former Hawks player (identified as “John Doe 1”) alleging Aldrich sexually assaulted him in 2010.
In Friday’s motion, obtained by the Sun-Times, the Hawks argue the unnamed high schooler has “no basis to sue [the Hawks] for the criminal act committed by Aldrich years after he was employed [by the Hawks].” The high schooler — who was 16 years old at the time, per Michigan police documents, but is now an adult — is identified as “John Doe 2” in court documents.
The motion presents two main arguments. First, the Hawks argue they “under Illinois law…[have] no duty to protect an individual from the criminal acts of a third party,” given they neither knew Doe 2 nor employed Aldrich at the time.
Second, the Hawks argue the claim in the original lawsuit that they provided “positive references to future employers of Aldrich” is “vague and factually unsupported.” They also argue the lawsuit’s lack of allegation claiming they provided positive reference specifically to Houghton High School is a “fatal omission,” rendering irrelevant any arguments about whether they provided positive references to other employers.
Aldrich, who left the Hawks after the 2010 Stanley Cup and was a volunteer assistant coach for the Houghton (Michigan) High School boy’s hockey team in 2013, pled guilty that year to assaulting Doe 2 and served nine months in prison.
Doe 2 claimed Aldrich climbed into bed with, sexually touched and performed oral sex on him and also forced him to sexually touch Aldrich, despite his frequent objections, according to Michigan police documents.
The Hawks had requested a time extension in these legal proceedings in June and were given a Friday deadline to file.
The arguments in this motion to dismiss differ from those in the motion to dismiss the lawsuit from the former Hawks player. That motion argued the statute of limitations expired before the lawsuit was filed and that the player did not exhaust other legal remedies before suing.
Aldrich resigned from a brief job with the Miami (Ohio) University men’s hockey team in 2012 after two separate incidents of alleged sexual assault, WBEZ Chicago reported Friday. The university is currently conducting an internal investigation.
The Blackhawks have hired the Chicago law firm Jenner & Block to investigate the claims that Aldrich assaulted two Hawks players in 2010, that Hawks management refused to report the alleged incident to police and that the Hawks provided Aldrich the positive references.
But Susan Loggans, the lawyer representing both the ex-Hawks player as well as Doe 2, told TSN on Friday that she and her clients would not participate in the investigation because the Hawks and NHL paid for it and have not promised to publicly release its findings.
Hawks CEO Danny Wirtz said in an internal memo June 28 that the Hawks will “refrain from further comment” on the matter until the lawsuits and investigation conclude, but general manager Stan Bowman — one of the people allegedly involved in the 2010 managerial cover-up — will be expected to face the press ahead of the NHL expansion and entry drafts later this month.