Law firm’s review finds Miami acted properly regarding former hockey program official

Findings from a law firm investigating whether Miami University officials properly handled two sexual assault allegations – involving a former employee and now former NHL hockey assistant coach accused of later, similar acts with players – has cleared the school of any wrongdoing. (File Photo\Journal-News)
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Findings from a law firm investigating whether Miami University officials properly handled two sexual assault allegations – involving a former employee and now former NHL hockey assistant coach accused of later, similar acts with players – has cleared the school of any wrongdoing. (File Photo\Journal-News)

Findings from a law firm investigating whether Miami University officials properly handled two sexual assault allegations involving a former employee has cleared the school of any wrongdoing.

Bradley Aldrich, who was hired as Miami’s director of hockey operations in July 2012 and resigned five months later, was the focus of a review by attorneys hired by Miami and in a separate investigation by a former federal prosecutor hired by the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.

The investigation into one of the NHL’s most high-profile franchises comes after the filing of two lawsuits against the team. The first alleges sexual assault by Aldrich during the team’s run to the 2010 Stanley Cup title, when he was an assistant coach there. The second was filed by a former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan.

ExploreRecords: Former Miami student accused hockey program official of sex offense

After leaving the Blackhawks, Aldrich was convicted in 2013 in Michigan of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a student and is now on that state’s registry of sex offenders. That former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting filed a separate lawsuit against the Blackhawks on May 26, saying the Blackhawks provided positive references to future employers of Aldrich despite allegations from at least one player and took no action to report the matter.

But according to newly available documents, the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg said a search of records and Miami’s handling of allegations against Aldrich “indicate Miami acted appropriately in response to each allegation discussed herein and otherwise met all of its legal duties under various federal and state laws governing incidents of sexual harassment or misconduct by an employee.”

The law firm stated it “found no evidence of any additional reports of sexual misconduct by Mr. Aldrich while employed by Miami. Moreover, there was no evidence that Miami was negligent in screening Mr. Aldrich prior to his employment with Miami.”

The report stated: “Finally, Miami was limited in its ability to communicate or make the allegations against Mr. Aldrich known to others. This limitation was the result of the (accusers) decision not to move forward with making formal criminal complaints, as well as the lack of any national tracking system or database containing allegations of non-adjudicated allegation of sexual misconduct.”

“There is no evidence that Miami could or should have taken any additional action based on the information known to them at the time,” stated officials with Barnes & Thornburg in their report.

Jessica Rivinius, spokeswoman for Miami, said: “We take allegations of sexual assault very seriously and believe that those who commit these heinous crimes should be held accountable.”

“Our commitment to supporting the victims of these crimes led us to seek an independent and thorough review of Bradley Aldrich’s employment at Miami. The findings of the report reassure us that we followed the proper protocols in these cases,” said Rivinius.

The Associated Press reported last week an attorney, who represents a former Chicago Blackhawks player who alleges he was sexually assaulted by a then-assistant coach in 2010, said her client has been interviewed as part of the team’s review of the accusations.

A former federal prosecutor has been hired by the Blackhawks to conduct what the team says is an independent investigative review of the allegations in a pair of lawsuits filed against the franchise. In an internal memo sent on June 28, CEO Danny Wirtz said Reid Schar and Jenner & Block LLP “have been directed to follow the facts wherever they lead.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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