Amended complaint details two decades of aberrant behavior by coaches and willful inaction by school and NCAA to end abuse
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 15, 2022
SAN FRANCISCO – (July 15, 2022) Today, nine former University of San Francisco (USF) baseball players joined the class action lawsuit filed in March 2022 against their two (now former) baseball coaches, USF , and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Players allege USF coaches Anthony Giarratano and Troy Nakamura created an intolerable sexualized environment within the team for the past 22 years, that USF knew of their misconduct and did nothing to stop it, and that the NCAA has implemented inadequate policies to protect student-athletes from such abuse or prevent coaches from moving to another member institution with impunity.
The Amended Complaint includes the claims made by the three original plaintiffs. It provides startling details of an environment plagued by emotional abuse and highly sexualised behavior, with the first allegations dating back to 1999 – Giarratano’s first year as a coach.
The original complaint was filed on March 11, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. Since filing, Giarratano and Nakamura have been fired and USF athletic director Joan McDermott has left her post.
“Since filing this case on behalf of three young student-athletes who had the courage to stand up and share their horrific experiences at USF, we have been contacted by many former USF baseball players who share similar stories of crippling emotional abuse and perverse sexual behavior by USF coaches,” said Elizabeth Fegan, founding partner of FeganScott and one of the attorneys representing the students. “These experiences clearly illustrate why the USF and NCAA should be held accountable for abuses committed by coaches.”
According to Fegan, the intent of the lawsuit is to force the school to adopt and implement best practices to prevent future occurrences and compensate the young men for the harm they suffered at the hands of the coaches.
“These nine new plaintiffs — who have played baseball at USF since the very beginning of Giarratano and Nakamura’s coaching tenure — establish that this was not a one-time, one-day incident. ‘a player or a season,’ said Jonathan Selbin, a senior partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, who led the firm’s litigation against the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan over abuse sexual abuse of students and serves as co-counsel in this lawsuit. “It was a two-decade period in which coaches created an invasive and intolerable sexualized environment that caused lasting damage to these young players, which USF did nothing to stop despite its knowledge, and to which the NCAA had and has inadequate policies in place to remedy it or prevent it from happening again.”
“The reality is that the University of San Francisco has an abysmal record when it comes to protecting students,” Fegan added. “The deplorable case involving the baseball team follows similar allegations involving both the men’s soccer program and the women’s basketball program.”
“We are obligated to use the civil justice system to demand that the Jesuit school make the changes it will not make on its own,” she added.
The complaint also challenges the NCAA’s refusal to take meaningful steps to create penalties for sexual, violent or criminal behavior by coaches or staff in their athletic programs. While the NCAA freely sanctions student-athletes for poor academic performance and disciplines athletes for taking advantage of their own likeness, NCAA statutes contain no sanctions for sexual, violent, or criminal conduct by coaches. or staff in their athletic programs.
According to the complaint, the NCAA has taken no action in the two decades since the NCAA adopted a code of ethics for coaches in 1992, which prohibits sexual harassment and sexual relations between coaches and athletes.
The complaint also cites the NCAA’s failure to track abuse cases to prevent coaches from moving to different schools.
Spanning more than 140 pages, the complaint also cites repeated instances in which USF coaches used emotional abuse to force players off the team, often coerced into giving up guaranteed scholarships worth up to $280,000.
“Our investigation revealed that coaches routinely berate players with sexualized and rude screeds intended to humiliate and intimidate them, often in front of other players or fans,” Fegan said. “The intent was clear, to get kids to quit, freeing up scholarships that coaches could dangle in front of other prospects, and the data supports that conclusion.”
According to the complaint from the 13 recruits in the USF Class of 2017, only five stayed for four years. Of the 17 signings in 2020, eight have transferred and two are considering doing so, giving the team a 60% transfer rate compared to a national average of just 2%.
“Many of the student-athletes we represent are dealing with severe trauma, depression and other health issues resulting from the horrific sexual abuse and bullying that Giarratano and Nakamura inflicted on them,” Fegan said. “These impressionable young men looked forward to a bright future playing college baseball with the training and mentorship they were promised. Instead, the coaches tasked with guiding and teaching them abused and marked them. These experiences at USF are an example of what happens when the NCAA is allowed to disclaim responsibility.”
For more information visit www.feganscott.com
FeganScott is a national class action law firm dedicated to helping victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Elizabeth Fegan, founder and member of the firm’s leadership, represents the group of survivors who are suing criminally convicted movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The firm, championed by acclaimed veterans, class action lawyers who have successfully recovered $1 billion for victims nationwide, has helped survivors of sexual abuse reclaim their lives and seek compensation from their attackers. FeganScott is committed to pursuing successful results with integrity and excellence while holding responsible parties accountable.
About Lieff Cabraser
Lieff Cabraser is a national law firm that represents individuals and small businesses in a variety of individual and class action lawsuits, including cases brought by survivors of sexual abuse against doctors, teachers and institutions. who employ them, including the groundbreaking sexual abuse class action lawsuit. against the University of Southern California filed on behalf of nearly 18,000 women who were abused by USC gynecologist George Tyndall. Lieff Cabraser served as co-lead class counsel in the USC lawsuit, securing a landmark $215 million settlement for survivors, which also included sweeping institutional reforms requiring USC to make significant and substantial changes to ensure that such sexual abuse never happens again on its campus. Lieff Cabraser is currently co-lead class counsel in litigation against the University of Michigan on behalf of a student-patient and other survivors of sexual abuse by the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson.
Case No. 3:22-cv-01559
FeganScott is a national class action law firm dedicated to helping victims of civil rights violations, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and consumer fraud. The firm is defended by acclaimed veterans, class action lawyers who have successfully recovered $1 billion for victims nationwide. FeganScott is committed to pursuing successful results with integrity and excellence while holding responsible parties accountable.
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