A former high school girls' soccer coach has filed suit against his former employer, claiming the school ruined his reputation, causing him embarrassment and loss of income.
Ex-Loyola (Ill.) Academy girls' soccer coach Craig Snower is seeking $250,000 in compensatory damages from Loyola Academy for lost income and severed relationships within the soccer community.
According to Patch.com, Snower filed his lawsuit the day before the statute of limitations would have run out. He alleges that Loyola ruined his reputation and ended his career as a soccer coach, claiming that school administrators maliciously got him fired from his position with the Glenview-based FC United soccer club and defamed him by reporting accusations against him to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Loyola’s principal and president Kathryn Baal received word back in May of 2018 from a parent that their daughter had quit playing soccer due to inappropriate sexual comments made by Snower. The incident was investigated, and five different players confirmed the comments.
When Ball and athletic director Pat Mahoney — neither are still with the school — fired Snower over the comments, they asked that he also resign from FC United.
"We also want you to resign from FC United," Baal told Snower, according to the suit, citing the presence of some Loyola students on the team. She warned him that if he did not voluntarily resign she would tell the private club "what we have on you." FC United was informed of Snower's termination from Loyola within about five minutes of it happening, Snower’s lawsuit claims.
Within an hour of the meeting, Baal and Mahoney held a meeting, apologizing to the girls varsity soccer team for Snower’s having abused “them for years and they were sorry that Loyola had not done anything," according to the lawsuit, which claims the school's apology "further defamed Snower's reputation."
That evening, Baal contacted a DCFS hotline to report that 24 girls on the team may have been subjected to sexually explicit comments and that some had reported seeing pornographic images on Snower’s mobile phone. Snower denies there was any reason for Baal to involve DCFS.
However, Baal’s report to DCFS initiated an investigation, and police interviewed nearly every player on the team. They described Snower as a “creepy guy” with boundary issues, according to Patch.com. Police reports said Loyola players recounted various inappropriate incidents. They said Snower asked a player if “she parties and whether she is a ‘slut’.”
While Snower was never charged with a crime, the Illinois Youth Soccer Association disqualified Snower from all its activities after investigations by DCFS and the U.S. Center for Safesport were opened.
Snower is claiming two counts of defamation, one count of false light and one count of tortious interference with existing and prospective business relations.
Snower was awarded the Illinois High School Soccer Coach of the Year award in 2012, and the Illinois Youth Soccer Association, from which he is now banned, named him competitive coach of the year in December 2017.