Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala Partners Darrell Cochran, Kevin Hastings and Associate Andrew Ulmer reached a $7.5 million settlement for their client in a sexual abuse suit against Black Hills Football Club (BHFC). This is one of the largest child sexual abuse settlements ever reached in the state of Washington.
The coach, David Cross, lured the player into a hotel room during an Oregon tournament claiming he needed to have a captain’s meeting. He then sadistically raped her and left her in the hallway of the hotel that BHFC discouraged parents from staying at under the claim that the coaches were teaching the girls how to behave in a ‘college environment.’
“This coach was so brazen in this rape that he basically dared her to say anything. When her mom sensed something had gone wrong and confronted the coach, he screamed at the mother and daughter and then vanished. And not a soul from the club asked why he left or what had happened,” said Cochran. “Our client and her mom are heroes for having the courage to step forward and take on this establishment.”
This is the fourth settlement, totaling $12.75 million, in a series of lawsuits against BHFC related to sexual abuse by soccer coaches at this soccer club.
“What has happened within the Black Hills Football Club from 1999 through 2019 has really defied belief: Multiple founding members of this organization sexually abused players over years, leaving a long list of victims who, to this very day, silently suffer the abuse, the shame, the guilt of it all, hoping the effects will just go away,” added Cochran. “Instead of standing by these sexually abused players, the Black Hills Football Club turned on them, denying that anything had happened to these children, and destroying documents to hide the evidence that would help prove what had happened”
Unfortunately, the abuse that took place within BHFC is not an isolated incident. Youth sports leagues attract sexual predators, who exploit their positions of authority to gain access to vulnerable minors.
“Every parent who has a child in a club sport really needs to study the lessons of this case. Predators continue showing up in these clubs – whether it’s soccer, gymnastics, wrestling, swimming – and take advantage of parents and their children who have hope for sport scholarships if their child just pleases the coaches with their performance. When a club fails to use sensible hiring, screening and supervisory processes, these sexual abusers have an easy time isolating and assaulting children with ruthless and terrifying efficiency,” said Cochran.
Media coverage about the settlement:
The Olympian, “Blackhills soccer club settles fourth sexual abuse lawsuit for $7.5 million”