Report Says Miami University ‘Acted Appropriately’ On Sex Assault Claims Against Ex-Blackhawks Coach

Miami University sign
The Miami University Hamilton Downtown Center on May 23, 2016, in Hamilton, Ohio. The university released the results of an internal investigation Friday into how it handled allegations of sexual assault against a former Blackhawks coach who'd worked at the school. John Minchillo / Associated Press, File Photo
Miami University sign
The Miami University Hamilton Downtown Center on May 23, 2016, in Hamilton, Ohio. The university released the results of an internal investigation Friday into how it handled allegations of sexual assault against a former Blackhawks coach who'd worked at the school. John Minchillo / Associated Press, File Photo

Report Says Miami University ‘Acted Appropriately’ On Sex Assault Claims Against Ex-Blackhawks Coach

A review of a former Chicago Blackhawks coach’s five-month long employment at Miami University in Ohio found the school acted appropriately when it learned of sexual assault allegations against him.

The report released Friday concerns Bradley Aldrich, the Blackhawks’ video coach on the 2010 Stanley Cup-winning team who’s been accused in court documents of also sexually assaulting a Blackhawks player. That player, who remains anonymous, has sued the team in Cook County court alleging the Blackhawks did not act appropriately when he raised complaints.

A second lawsuit against the Blackhawks was filed by a former high school hockey player in Houghton, Mich. In 2013, Aldrich pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conviction of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct against that student, landing him on Michigan’s sex offender registry.

In between his stints with the Blackhawks and the Michigan high school hockey team, Aldrich

was the Director of Hockey Operations at Miami University, where his brief tenure in 2012 was cut short amid more allegations of sexual assault.

After WBEZ first reported on the multiple allegations of sexual impropriety against Aldrich – including at Miami – the public university 280 miles southeast of Chicago hired its own law firm to investigate Aldrich’s employment.

“The known facts do not support a conclusion that Miami acted inappropriately or negligently in its response to any allegations or information relating to Bradley Aldrich,” concludes an eight-page report released Friday by lawyers with Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

While the report acknowledges the pending civil lawsuits against the Chicago Blackhawks, the scope of the investigation focused on Aldrich’s employment at Miami University.

Prior to moving to Ohio, Aldrich had been employed at the ice arena at the University of Notre Dame.

Former Miami hockey coach Enrico Blasi told investigators that he and his staff “had talked to the coaching staff at Notre Dame and received favorable information” about Aldrich. A Notre Dame spokesman has told WBEZ the university has not been made aware of any complaints against Aldrich.

Aldrich did not submit references as part of his application. There is no mention in the report of whether the Chicago Blackhawks, which would have been aware of 2010 allegations against Aldrich, were contacted by anyone at Miami University.

Like Miami, the Blackhawks hired its own law firm to conduct an investigation into Aldrich’s employment with the team and how it handled the complaints against him. The team has pledged to make public the findings of that investigation.

The first Ohio allegation against Aldrich

The report details two different allegations of assault against Aldrich in Oxford, Ohio, where Miami University is located. Aldrich faces no criminal charges related to the allegations. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

In one instance detailed in the Barnes & Thornburg report, a man who attended a different university worked with the Miami University summer hockey camps during an internship in 2012. Later that year, the man whose name was left out of the report told his advisor that Aldrich sexually assaulted him during an informal reunion.

The advisor told investigators that the student “drank too much” while out with Mr. Aldrich and oher friends. Aldrich suggested that the student sleep on his couch, the report states, and at some point late in the evening or in the early morning hours, the student “woke up to the sexual assault by Mr. Aldrich.”

The student left to stay with a different friend, according to the report.

The student’s advisor notified Miami University’s general counsel upon being told of the incident. The same day the university confronted Adlrich, the report says, Aldrich submitted his resignation.

The report states that Miami’s attorney contacted campus police about the alleged incident, and police then contacted the student. The accuser later wrote the campus police chief that he did not want to file criminal charges against Aldrich and he “stated that he ‘wanted to commend Miami University for the quick and decisive action taken by all parties involved,’” according to the report.

The second incident at Miami

Nearly six years later, Miami University was notified by campus police at a different, unnamed university that another student claimed he, too, was sexually assaulted by Aldrich in 2012 while he was an undergraduate at Miami and working at the campus ice arena.

Similar to the other accuser, the student told police that he went to sleep on Aldrich’s couch after a night of drinking and woke up “to find Mr. Aldrich sexually assaulting him,” according to the report.

“There is no evidence that (the second accuser) reported the incident to anyone at Miami or to any other entity until 2018,” the report states.Then, in 2018, a mandatory reporter contacted campus police where the alleged victim was then a graduate student. Miami University police were then notified.“I’m sorry for the delay in responding to this, I’ve been very conflicted on the best course of action & to be completely honest I’m horrifically embarrassed about this and would prefer to forget this ever happened,” the student wrote to a police detective in 2018, according to a police report obtained by WBEZ.

The student went on to say that he wasn’t aiming to press charges against Aldrich or Miami University. “I would, however, like something on [the] record in case he ever does something like this again, particularly to children,” he wrote.

Miami University opened a Title IX investigation into the matter, but the accuser did not respond.

Both accusers from Miami University declined to be interviewed for the Barnes & Thornburg report.

Some of those who did participate in the investigation, however, recalled information about Aldrich.

One unnamed consultant told investigators that “Aldrich seemed to have a very close relationship with the freshman [sic] in the hockey program and that Mr. Aldrich worked hard to cultivate this relationship.”

Another interviewee recalled giving Aldrich a warning after noticing he was texting with some underage hockey camp athletes.

Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.