The Blackhawks filed Friday a motion to dismiss the negligence lawsuit filed against them by the Michigan high school hockey player who was allegedly 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.
The new motion, obtained by the Sun-Times, also claims Hawks management had no “statutory duty” to report Aldrich’s alleged assault of Doe 1 to police.
The main portion of the motion presents the Hawks’ argument that 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].”
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 the high schooler and served nine months in prison. 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 offers 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.
Doe 2 told police 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 from 2013.
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 by Doe 1, the former Hawks player. That motion argued the statute of limitations expired before the lawsuit was filed and that Doe 1 did not exhaust other legal remedies before suing.
But Friday’s motion also lays out what will likely be the Hawks’ defense against former skills coach Paul Vincent’s testimony regarding Doe 1’s alleged assault. Vincent told TSN he informed then-Hawks president John McDonough and current Hawks GM Stan Bowman and vice president Al MacIsaac about the incident but the leadership group rejected his request to notify police.
The Hawks argued that since Doe 1 was not a minor, not disabled and not in a care facility — the “three categories of individuals protected by mandatory reporting requirements under Illinois law” — it therefore “cannot be alleged that [the Hawks] had a statutory duty to report allegations of Aldrich harassing an adult hockey player to a government entity.”
The Blackhawks have hired the Chicago law firm Jenner & Block to investigate all the claims against them.
But Susan Loggans, the lawyer representing both Doe 1 and 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.
Aldrich resigned from a brief job with the Miami (Ohio) University men’s hockey team in 2012 after two separate alleged incidents of sexual assault, WBEZ Chicago reported Friday. The university is currently conducting its own internal investigation.
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 Bowman will nonetheless be expected to face the media ahead of the NHL expansion and entry drafts later this month.