Former USA Volleyball coach Rick Butler was accused of sexually abusing “no fewer than six underage teen girls” while his wife attempted to silence the victims, a new lawsuit alleges.
Rick Butler, who founded Sports Performance Volleyball, a sports club based in Aurora, Illinois, was named in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that alleged he “used his position” to abuse the underage girls in the 1980s, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Butler, who was considered one of the “most powerful coaches in youth volleyball,” is also accused of impregnating one of his victims.
The 72-page complaint detailed the alleged abuse the then-teenagers experienced from Butler. The lawsuit claims Butler raped one of the girls in his apartment and then made her leave his home through the window.
"Before practices, he [Butler] would shove his hands down her pants so he could 'smell her [a victim] through practice,'" the lawsuit stated. "He told her that any time during practice that he had his hand to his nose, he was thinking of her."
The lawsuit highlighted one incident when one of the victims asked Butler why he was fondling her and kissing her, he allegedly said, “Because I can.”
The lawsuit also alleged Butler raped the victims in a train to Germany, the weight room, his car and his apartment. He is also accused of forcing the girls to watch porn “so they could learn.”
Butler’s wife, Cheryl, is accused of attempting to silence the victims’ claims against her husband. The lawsuit stated Cheryl Butler blasted the victims on Facebook.
“They have persistently intimidated and attempted to discredit the few of his victims brave enough to come forward by exerting emotional and psychological control over them,” the plaintiffs stated in the complaint.
Sexual abuse allegations against Butler came to light in 1995. He was expelled from USA Volleyball following the claim but he was allowed to return five years later. In January, USA Volleyball announced they banned Butler for life due to the “allegations of misconduct and abuse against Mr. Butler from a number of individuals, including several former players.” He has also been banned by Amateur Athletic Union and Junior Volleyball Association.
The lawsuit also noted Butler has a “special relationship with Michigan State University.” The university recently came under scrutiny for employing disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was ordered to serve decades in prison for molesting athletes.
Butler “has never been charged with a crime” but his accusers said “the relevant statutes of limitations had expired before they came forward,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.