A university in Ohio is for the first time publicly confirming there were two sexual assault claims involving former Chicago Blackhawks Coach Bradley Aldrich during his five-month stint there after leaving Illinois.
Details are few, but Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, acknowledged the existence of the second claim after WBEZ reported last week about a police report from a former student who came forward in 2018 and alleged Aldrich sexually assaulted him in 2012.
Aldrich’s career path while with Chicago’s National Hockey League franchise and afterward has come under scrutiny after an ex-Blackhawks player and a former Michigan high school hockey player sued the team for improperly handling sexual assault allegations against the former coach in 2010. The latest claim marks at least the seventh individual with allegations involving Aldrich documented in court complaints and investigative police reports.
After leaving the Blackhawks and, later, Miami University, Aldrich became a volunteer hockey coach at a public high school in Houghton, Mich., where he was convicted for a 2013 sex crime against the 17-year-old male hockey player. A police report obtained by WBEZ showed law enforcement had investigated multiple sexual misconduct claims against Aldrich, including alleged “inappropriate” and “uncomfortable” sexual contact with other minors.
His conviction for fourth degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student landed Aldrich on Michigan’s sex offender registry.
After leaving the Blackhawks in 2010, Aldrich went on to jobs with the U.S. Women’s National Hockey program, the University of Notre Dame and Miami University, where he worked from July to November of 2012, according to a resume in his university personnel file.
“In November 2012, Miami University was made aware of allegations of an off-campus sexual assault involving a non-student adult and Brad Aldrich,” Miami University spokeswoman Jessica Rivinius wrote in an email to WBEZ Friday.
“When the Miami University Police Department reached out to the alleged victim, they offered to assist the individual in filing a police report with the Oxford [Ohio] Police Department,” she said. “The individual declined to make a report.”
The university had not divulged any detail about that allegation in an earlier raft of Aldrich’s personnel documents it turned over to WBEZ as part of an open-records request.
The university also rejected numerous attempts by WBEZ for clarity on this 2012 allegation, declining to outline the nature of the allegations, how the university became aware of the allegations or what steps the university took in 2012 after learning of them. The university even refused to confirm that Aldrich was the alleged perpetrator, although it had previously acknowledged to police that Aldrich had resigned in 2012 “under suspicion of unwanted touching of an adult male.”
After publication of this story, Oxford police contacted WBEZ in response to questions as to whether the department was made aware of the allegations.
“Without further information, we cannot respond to this question,” Oxford police spokesman Matt Stitzel wrote. “However, for the sake of transparency, the Division of Police does not have any reports related to Brad Aldrich.”
This allegation is separate from a second one made by a former student in 2018 that WBEZ reported on last week. The former student told police he had been assaulted by Aldrich in 2012, and though he did not want to press charges, wanted the alleged attack on record “in case he ever does something like this again, particularly to children.”
Aldrich faces no criminal charges in relation to either sexual assault allegation.
The Ohio prosecutor with jurisdiction over Miami University did not have personal knowledge of either case against Aldrich. Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser last week told WBEZ he was investigating why the allegation detailed in the 2018 police report did not get shared with his office.
But Gmoser this week said he didn’t blame the university’s handling of the 2012 assault allegation associated with Aldrich’s resignation, particularly when the victim wasn’t prepared to help law enforcement build a case.
“Now does it kick the can down the road? Yes, it does,” Gmoser told WBEZ on Wednesday. “But there’s not much more they could do under those circumstances. So the can ends up somewhere else, and now you have that case in another state with the same individual.”
Miami University, which currently is not party to any Aldrich-related litigation, has hired a law firm to investigate its handling of his time at the campus, which is near Cincinnati and about 280 miles southeast of Chicago.
But the lack of detail surrounding either known allegation of sexual assault at Miami University is unsettling to the plaintiffs’ attorney representing the ex-Blackhawk and the former Michigan high school student, known respectively as John Doe and John Doe 2 in separate lawsuits against the Blackhawks.
“You are encountering a lack of authenticity and transparency when you’re trying to speak to other institutions and colleges that experienced inappropriate behavior with Aldrich,” attorney Susan Loggans told WBEZ.
“It’s very disturbing to me because other victims have a right to know what’s gone before them. Just like John Doe 2, had the Blackhawks been transparent, presumably none of these downstream assaults — sexual assaults — would’ve occurred,” she said.
WBEZ was the first to report about the lawsuit she has filed against the Blackhawks on behalf of an ex player. In the lawsuit, the player alleged Aldrich, a video coach for the Stanley Cup-winning 2010 team, masturbated in front of the player and threatened him professionally and financially if he didn’t engage in sexual relations.
When the player reported Aldrich’s behavior to another coach, that coach said the player brought Aldrich’s sexual advances on himself, the lawsuit alleged. Neither the team nor the player appeared to have sought charges against Aldrich with Chicago police.
The Blackhawks have moved to have the lawsuits dismissed by a Cook County Circuit Court judge, who has yet to rule on the team’s motions.
A lawyer representing Aldrich did not respond to questions from WBEZ about the latest disclosure from Miami University.