Former Stanford University All-American volleyball player and 1996 Olympian Nancy Reno released an open letter Friday demanding that a coach from her past remove her name from a banner in that individual's training facility in Aurora, Ill.
Reno's letter states that the fact she played on teams coached by Rick Butler in the 1980s "does not give you the right to display my name, without permission, in your facility. Your deplorable acts against my teammates at that time are beyond reprehensible."
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Butler was hit last month by a federal class-action lawsuit filed by a woman who claims her daughter was sexually abused by Butler as a teenager. The lawsuit details the similar experiences of six women who are not a party to the suit. Butler was banned by USA Volleyball in 1995 after Sarah Powers-Barnhard, Julie Romias and Christine Tuzi accused him of sexually abusing them as their coach in the 1980s. All three women were minors at the time. Since the Sun-Times' reporting of those accusations last fall, USA Volleyball banned Butler for life. Moreover, the Amateur Athletic Union "permanently disqualified" Butler and he was "indefinitely suspended" by the Junior Volleyball Association.
Butler has admitted to having sex with Powers-Bernhard, Romias and Tuzi, but claims it was while they were of legal age and not on his team. He maintains that he has "never sexually abused any individual" and has never been changed with a crime.
“Your financial gains made in the name of growing the great sport of volleyball and developing youth talent were actually rooted in the tears and pain of vulnerable children," Reno wrote. "These were my teammates Rick, and I stand behind them."
Reno, who placed fifth in beach volleyball at the Atlanta Olympics, is threatening legal action over the banner bearing her name inside Butler's Sports Performance Volleyball facility. "I have worked hard in my life to maintain integrity, honor, and truth in the sometimes ruthless and unforgiving arenas of professional and Olympic sports," she wrote. "To see a large banner with my name on it in your place of business, implying some sort of endorsement of your program is exploitative, misleading, inaccurate (I did not receive a bronze medal in that Olympics), and probably illegal. Please remove my name from your place of business."