CHICAGO (CBS) — More men are now coming forward, accusing a former Illinois youth hockey coach of sexual abuse. In May, CBS 2 Investigators reported on decades of abuse and the failure by those in power to stop it, all the way up to the college level.
CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini tracked down the coach, Tom “Chico” Adrahtas, outside his gated, Florida home surrounded by palm trees. Adrahtas was wearing a Chicago Cubs 2016 championship t-shirt and taking out trash.READ MORE: Three Men Say Trusted Hockey Coach Tom ‘Chico’ Adrahtas Groomed Them For Sexual Abuse As Teens
Adrahtas refused to answer some questions related to accusations of sexual abuse, dating back decades, from former players.
Mike Sacks was just a minor when he said it happened to him.
“This is where I was molested, when I was sixteen years old, by my hockey coach,” said Sacks as he stood outside the Lisle home where Adrahtas lived.
Sacks said he was a teen in the 1980s, when Adrahtas blinfolded and bound him inside a pitch-black room. The coach, Sacks said, told him a woman named Sheila would be coming into the room for a sexual encounter. Other former players, from different decades and different teams, said Adrahtas did the same thing to them.
“He named her Sheila. That was the name used,” said Chris Jensen who is among several players who believe “Sheila” was actually the coach.
CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini, while questioning Adrahtas, told him the former players believe Adrahtas tricked them and he was actually “Sheila.”.
“They’re wrong,” Adrahtas said. He denied being “Sheila.”
“He threatened me. He threatened me,” said Sacks about the coach. “If I didn’t do it, then he was going to stop helping my career. That’s how I took that.”
Adrahtas was a top, winning coach, and his victims believe that record on the ice led to the abuse complaints being ignored by those who could have stopped him. The former players say Adrahtas should have been stopped by the American Hockey Association of Illinois, USA Hockey and the University of Minnesota where Adrahtas was also accused to running the “Sheila” scam on college players.
When asked what he thought of his former players’ accusations, Adrahtas gave no answer.
Mike Sacks still struggles with the trauma.
“I just remember, I wanted to die,” said Sacks.READ MORE: More Accusers And More Allegations Of Abuse Against Trusted Hockey Coach Tom ‘Chico’ Adrahtas
When asked to say something about these allegations, Adrahtas said, “It’s not true” and drove away.
Since CBS 2 Investigators first reported on the coach, a lawsuit has been filed and now amended with new victims added.
One new accuser is a former National Hockey League (NHL) player – a Stanley Cup champion. He opened up to us about the abuse and his complaints that were ignored. We share his story Thursday night at 10 p.m.
USA Hockey Statement:
There have been two investigations related to the Tom Adrahtas abuse allegations conducted by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and the investigations and results are described below. As I believe you are aware, the U.S. Center for SafeSport has exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and resolve any allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse within USA Hockey programs. USA Hockey is not permitted to conduct any independent investigations of these matters.
On September 12, 2018, USA Hockey received a report (forwarded to USA Hockey by the ACHA – American Collegiate Hockey Association) from a former player detailing sexual abuse by Adrahtas during the 1983-85 time period. Our staff immediately reported the matter to the Center for SafeSport and acknowledged receipt of the report to the former player that submitted the report. The next day, the Center for SafeSport issued a temporary suspension of Adrahtas, and USA Hockey immediately notified the ACHA and Robert Morris University of the suspension. Adrahtas remained under suspension and was ineligible to participate in any program sanctioned by USA Hockey (as well as all sports governed by the USOPC) throughout the investigation. On June 1, 2020, the Center issued its decision declaring that Adrahtas was permanently ineligible “from participating, in any capacity, in any event, program, activity, or competition authorized by, organized by, or under the auspices of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), the National Governing Bodies recognized by the USOPC, a Local Affiliated Organization as defined by the Code, or any High Performance Management Organization (HPMO), or at a facility under the jurisdiction of the same.”
In May 2020, an article alleged that other persons within USA Hockey’s affiliate for Illinois (AHAI) were aware of Adrahtas’ abuse in the 1980s and failed to report it, and that a player had submitted a written report of the abuse to AHAI in 2010. The article alleged that Jim Smith, former president of AHAI and at the time secretary of USA Hockey, was one of the individuals aware of the Adrahtas allegations in the 1980s and that he was made aware of the 2010 report. USA Hockey reported those allegations to the Center for SafeSport for investigation. Following its investigation, on April 8, 2021, the Center for SafeSport issued Administrative Closures related to Jim Smith and the other former or current AHAI representatives that were alleged to have failed to report Adrahtas’ abuse. The notice closing the matter contained no negative findings or conclusions related to Jim Smith or any of the AHAI representatives alleged to have knowledge and that no action would be taken.
University of Minnesota Statement:
The University of Minnesota expects its coaches, administrators, faculty, and staff to report any allegations of misconduct so the University can fully and confidentially investigate them. We also expect our leaders at all levels to immediately and fully address findings of wrongdoing. These steps are vital to building a culture that prevents sexual misconduct and responds seriously when concerns are raised. Every member of the University community shares a responsibility to each other: to help provide safe and respectful learning and work places so we can all reach our full potential. With this in mind, the findings outlined in this investigation, even after 35 years, are disturbing.
This investigation was an important step, even if conducted decades after alleged activity occurred. It is important that the University examine the past: Did the University confront and stop improper conduct? Did the University support the prompt and full reporting of misconduct? Did the University facilitate the many steps needed to address the human consequences of behavior that often leaves lasting wounds?
The University has taken significant steps in the years since the events described here to ensure any allegations of misconduct are promptly reported and thoroughly investigated. University policies are strong and clearly prohibit sexual misconduct; President Gabel continues an institution-wide commitment to the President’s Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct, which includes training for University employees and students; mandatory reporting obligations for faculty and staff are clearly stated; and anonymous reporting options exist to create and maintain a culture of safety and respect.
We greatly respect and appreciate those who participated in this investigation. Telling one’s story—particularly so long after events allegedly occurred—can be painful and disruptive. Those individuals who came forward should be commended for their strength and willingness to help us pursue the truth.
Finally, the University has resources available to anyone who has experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct. We hope all members of our University community will turn to the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office and the Aurora Center for confidential support.MORE NEWS: Federal Lawsuit Alleges Cover-Ups Of Decades Of Abuse By Youth Hockey Coach Tom ‘Chico’ Adrahtas