From 2001 to 2015, University of Toledo women’s soccer coach Brad Evans led the team to four Mid-American Conference tournament titles, three regular-season MAC championships, and qualified for the NCAA tournament four times. According to a recent report from The Guardian, these successes seemingly blinded the University to its abuse and misconduct against its players and coaching staff.
In 2015, Coach Evans abruptly resigned. Details surrounding what led to his resignation have recently been brought to light by The Guardian’s investigative report. The Guardian interviewed several former players and coaching assistants who gave eerily similar accounts of who and what Coach Evans was behind the scenes. These reports detailed his unsolicited sexual advances, misconduct, and even assaults against his female players and coaching staff. There was a clear consensus that Coach Evans asserted his authority and created a sexually charged and abusive culture in the women’s soccer program. Tragically, the University of Toledo administration seemed to be aware and dismissive and/or tolerant of his conduct – even suggesting to those who came forward that if it was that bad for them, why haven’t they left the program.
College sports are big business for many schools. And as we have seen in recent years, colleges will often ignore the allegations and reports by athletes of sexual misconduct by coaches and training staff and may even go as far as to cover it up. Penn State with Jerry Sandusky, Michigan State with Dr. Larry Nassar, Ohio State with Dr. Richard Strauss, and most recently, Dr. Robert Anderson and Michigan.
In Coach Evans’ situation, both former staff and players have stated that they feared him and feared the consequences of challenging his conduct and culture. They feared losing their job, jeopardizing their career, and hurting the team. Their fear and the University’s tolerance silenced many of them.
However, in early 2015, multiple independent reports of Coach Evans’ misconduct were made to the administration, including a report of a sexual assault. Apparently, Coach Evans was permitted to resign to avoid investigation and scandal. UT stayed silent on the allegations of sexual assault made against him by a former player turned staff member. After his resignation, Evans worked with the young girls as a coach with the Ohio Soccer Association, the Olympic Development Program, and as an instructor for U.S. Soccer. According to The Guardian’s report, the Ohio Soccer Association was made aware of his misconduct but was also dismissive.
Following The Guardian’s report, U.S. Soccer immediately announced that it had suspended Brad Evan’s coaching license and barred him from federal facilities. It was also learned that Evans is under investigation by Toledo Police for the alleged assault.
Sexual Abuse by Coaches in Ohio
Often victims of sexual or abusive misconduct by a trusted authority figure may feel ashamed or scared to come forward and report the abuse. You may feel loyalty to your sports team, school, or church, but there may be other victims afraid to come forward if an authority figure acted this way, and your strength may give them the courage to report what happened so it will stop before anyone else has to experience it. Institutions have a responsibility and duty to ensure that incidents of misconduct are investigated, and measures are taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Too often, Universities systematically protect these individuals who mentally, verbally, physically, or sexually assault or abuse players or students.
The Guardian’s investigation into the sexual misconduct by Brad Evans suggests that players and staff told the University about his verbal, physical, and sexual misconduct, but no investigations were opened and no measures taken to protect students or staff. Instead, The Guardian investigation suggests that the University was willing to tolerate a culture of misconduct and abuse against its students and staff in light the success Brad Evan’s brought to its program.
Contact An Attorney
Sexual misconduct is a blanket term that describes any unwanted sexual activity or conduct. Sexual misconduct can include sexual harassment or sexual assault, or sex-related behaviors. Victims of such misconduct have many legal rights not only against the individual who abused you, but also potentially against the school the tolerated the misconduct and/or failed to take steps to protect you.
If you have been sexually assaulted or harassed by a coach and/or retaliated against for reporting such misconduct, contact our attorneys at Charles Boyk for a free confidential consultation. We will guide you on all available options and advocate for justice on your behalf. You may feel the need not to report the incident out of fear, but there are laws that protect victims. Coming forward may help someone who has stayed silent out of fear convince them to come forward.