School district, hockey association sued for negligence in sex abuse case

School district, hockey association sued for negligence in sex abuse case

The school district and a local hockey association are being sued by the alleged victims in a child sex abuse case.

Three unnamed plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $100,000 from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association and former hockey coach Bradley Elliott, according to documents filed with the Kenai court.

Elliott was arrested in 2016 and charged with 34 felony counts, including second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, unlawful exploitation of a minor, indecent exposure and possession and distribution of child pornography.

Elliott coached the Soldotna High School junior varsity hockey team from 2008 to 2010 and was an assistant coach for the varsity team in the 2007-08 season, according to previous Clarion coverage.

Filed in February, the lawsuit alleges that through his association with the school and the hockey organization, Elliott, 56, was able to build relationships with families and gain their trust.

The suit accuses the school district and hockey association of negligent hiring, training and supervision practices, and alleges that the school district and hockey association should have been aware of the risk of “grooming,” in which a sexual predator gains the trust of a victim and paves the way for sexual abuse.

The lawsuit claims that the organizations failed to warn students, teachers, parents, volunteers and other staff about the risk of sexual predation.

The suit also alleges that the former coach had previously been accused of sexual abuse, and claimed that other children had been abused by Elliott.

In its answer to the lawsuit, the school district stated that it sufficiently lacked knowledge to admit or deny the existence of additional victims, or of previous accusations of child sex abuse. In its answer, the hockey association also denied sufficient knowledge to answer allegations that additional victims or that previous accusations of abuse exist. Both the school district and hockey association have filed motions to dismiss the suit.

The plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $100,000 for psychological and counseling expenses, rehabilitation expenses, lost earning capacity, physical injury, emotional distress, pain and suffering, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life.

Elliott’s next hearing in the criminal case is schedule for May 9.

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