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Rick Butler banned from attending USA Volleyball events

Volleyball coach Rick Butler | Stacie Scott/Lincoln Journal Star

Volleyball’s national governing body has banished a powerhouse west suburban coach from attending any event it sanctions — even as a spectator.

The new policy, approved this month by the USA Volleyball Board of Directors and confirmed by an attorney for the organization, is just the latest blow to Rick Butler, who built Sports Performance Volleyball Club in Aurora.

Butler’s attorney did not comment on the policy when contacted by the Sun-Times.

Butler has been dogged by sexual abuse allegations for decades. He denies them. But a series of sanctions have been handed down in recent months, including bans from USA Volleyball, the Amateur Athletic Union and the Junior Volleyball Association.

One of his accusers complained publicly in May that Butler could still purchase spectator passes to attend youth volleyball events. Later that month, Walt Disney World Resorts said Butler was “no longer welcome” on its property, blocking Butler from attending a national AAU tournament there.

Now, USA Volleyball has adopted a “Sanctioned Events Attendance Policy,” which says anyone on its suspended members list “shall be prohibited from attending or participating in any Event, in any capacity, including as a spectator (subject to applicable laws and regulations).”

It says the prohibition applies as long as the person is suspended from USA Volleyball.

Butler, who has technically received two lifetime bans since December 2017, appears on the list twice. He was also banned from USA Volleyball in 1995, but that ban was partially rescinded in 2000.

The new policy states that, if a suspended member is seen at an event, “that individual will be immediately asked to leave the premises by Events staff, Events security, and/or local law enforcement as necessary.”

Butler also faces a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging he “used his position of power to sexually abuse no fewer than six underage teenage girls.”

Sarah Powers-Barnhard, Julie Romias and Christine Tuzi allege Butler sexually abused them in the 1980s while he was their coach and they were under 18. The Sun-Times first reported the allegation of another accuser, Beth Rose, in the November series “Net Pains.” More allegations surfaced in the lawsuit.

Though Butler has said he “never sexually abused any individual,” he has conceded he had sex with Powers-Barnhard, Romias and Tuzi. He said that happened after they were no longer minors and no longer on his team.