A federal class-action lawsuit filed this week alleges that a suburban Chicago volleyball coach sexually abused teenage girls involved in his program.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the suit claims Rick Butler “used his position of power to sexually abuse no fewer than six underage teenage girls,” and claims that Butler’s wife Cheryl used coercive pressure and threats to keep victims from coming forward.
The Butlers and the Sports Performance Volleyball Club of Aurora, Ill., are named as defendants in the 72-page lawsuit filed by Laura Mullen, whose daughters were part of Butler’s program. The suit describes decades of abusive behavior, naming previously identified accusers who are not listed as plaintiffs. It also includes a previously unreported accusation that Butler raped a player in a shower.
In the suit, Cheryl Butler is described as having called alleged victims to make threats against them, and lashing out at accusers on social media.
Butler has reportedly been banned by various volleyball organizations, including the Amateur Athletic Union, the Junior Volleyball Association and USA Volleyball.
Butler has never been charged with a crime, though his accusers say that the statute of limitations had expired before they came forward.
If other families choose to join the lawsuit and prevail in court, the Sun-Times says the suit “could cripple Butler’s volleyball empire.”
Cheryl Butler is listed as the owner of Sports Performance Volleyball Club on the organization’s website, which lists locations throughout the country.