Blackhawks may soon face 3 new lawsuits relating to sexual-assault cover-up
Former Hawks coach Paul Vincent, a former Hawks black aces player and a former Miami (Ohio) University student are all preparing to file lawsuits against the Hawks, a Chicago attorney said Thursday.
The Blackhawks’ legal problems in the fallout of the sexual-assault scandal revolving around former video coach Brad Aldrich may be far from over.
Three people affected by the Hawks’ 2010 cover-up — former Hawks skating coach Paul Vincent, a former Hawks “black ace” player and a former Miami (Ohio) University student — are all planning to file lawsuits against the Hawks.
Christopher Cortese, a Chicago-based defense attorney for Hurley McKenna & Mertz who represents all three, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday that he and his clients are gathering information and doing the due diligence necessary to file lawsuits.
That’s assuming the complaints aren’t first resolved out of court. Cortese and Hawks lawyers have been in communication since last summer regarding the former Miami student, identified anonymously as “John Doe 3.” They’ve been talking since last fall regarding “Black Ace 1” and Vincent, according to Cortese.
The Hawks didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday. The timing of Thursday’s news seems coincidental after Hawks chairman Rocky Wirtz exploded Wednesday at a United Center town hall over questions about the Hawks’ present-day response to the scandal.
All three people’s involvement in the scandal, which revolves around Aldrich allegedly assaulting prospect Kyle Beach during the Hawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup run, has already been known and widely discussed.
Aldrich allegedly assaulted “Doe 3” in the fall of 2012 while he was spending the night on Aldrich’s couch, according to a Barnes & Thornburg report released in September after an investigation into Aldrich’s time as Miami’s director of hockey operations.
Cortese said Thursday the Hawks’ decision to not only not report Aldrich’s alleged assault to police but also give him Stanley Cup memorabilia and recognition after he left the team helped him gain the trust of “Doe 3” and other future victims, including the former Houghton (Michigan) High School student who sued the Hawks last year.
“Ace 1,” meanwhile, claims he was sexually harassed by Aldrich in the spring of 2010, with Aldrich allegedly sending him a text about oral sex and another with a picture of his penis, according to the Jenner & Block report released in October. “Ace 1” claimed in the report he and Aldrich never had any physical contact but he was still bullied about the situation for years afterward.
Vincent was the Hawks coach Beach first told about the assault, prompting Vincent to push the information up the ladder and initiate an infamous meeting of top Hawks leadership in which his request to inform police was rejected, according to the Jenner & Block report.
Although all three individuals aren’t previously unknown people in the scandal, their potential legal actions against the Hawks would nonetheless make waves. “Doe 3” and “Ace 1” would likely file negligence lawsuits, similar to those filed by Beach and “Doe 2” and settled in December.
Vincent is planning to file a retaliatory discharge lawsuit, Cortese said. He claims his contract was not renewed after the 2010 season and he was instead offered a lower-paying, lower-status job with the Hawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.