Penguins face trial against former juvenile trainer accused of assault | PA
PITTSBURGH (AP) – A federal lawsuit filed by a former minor league assistant and his wife accuses the Pittsburgh Penguins of negligently restraining a coach who sexually assaulted and harassed her, and then retaliating against him for reporting the ‘incident.
Jarrod and Erin Skalde sued the Penguins nearly a year ago in Pennsylvania Middle District U.S. District Court alleging that former Wilkes-Barre / Scranton coach Clark Donatelli assaulted Erin Skalde during the ‘an outing during a road trip in 2018. The team is the American. Affiliated with the Penguins Hockey League and managed by the NHL club.
They also allege that current Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin, who was general manager of Wilkes-Barre / Scranton and deputy general manager of the Penguins at the time, asked Jarrod Skalde not to explain the reason for the dismissal of Donatelli and that the team punished Skalde for reporting the assault and then terminated his post under the guise of pandemic-related staff cuts.
Guerin is also deputy general manager of the US Olympic men’s hockey team. General manager Stan Bowman resigned that post and his post of chief hockey operations for Chicago earlier this week amid the fallout from the Blackhawks scandal.
A USA Hockey spokesperson said no decision has been made on Bowman’s successor.
Amid the shockwaves of the investigation into the mismanagement of the Blackhawks’ sexual assault allegations 11 years ago, TSN reported last week that the US Center for SafeSport had opened an investigation into Guerin’s handling of the situation with Wilkes-Barre / Scranton. A spokesperson said Thursday that SafeSport “does not comment on active issues to protect the integrity of the process.”
The Associated Press generally does not identify those who claim to have been sexually assaulted, but Jarrod Skalde’s lawyer David Fish said the family agreed because the case had already been made public.
In the lawsuit, the Skaldes allege that Donatelli sexually assaulted Erin Skalde twice during an outing during the November 2018 road trip. He allegedly made unwanted sexual advances, pulled up his shirt and grabbed her breasts, then later, in the back of a car with her husband in the front seat, unaware of what had happened, he allegedly pulled his pants down and touched her vagina, despite his best efforts. to stop it.
Donatelli’s attorney declined to comment when he was reached on Thursday.
According to the lawsuit, Jarrod Skalde in May 2019 confronted Donatelli, who told him he was too drunk to remember and then apologized. They say that after Erin Skalde faced Donatelli, he vowed to report to Guerin but never did.
Jarrod Skalde said he ended up reporting the incident to Guerin in June 2019 and the CEO assured him he would take care of the situation. Donatelli resigned later this month.
âWhen I learned of these allegations, I quickly brought them to the senior management of the Pittsburgh Penguins,â Guerin said last December. “The allegations were promptly investigated. I categorically deny the contrary.” The Wild also released a statement last year, saying the team had spoken with and supported Guerin; On Wednesday, the team declined to comment further.
The Penguins, in a statement to the AP on Thursday, said: “We took this incident very seriously and acted immediately. The team investigated and dealt with the alleged incident within hours of its notification in June 2019. despite Mr Skalde delaying seven months prior the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked why the couple did not report the incident to police, Fish declined to comment. The trial said the Skaldes did not immediately report it to the team “because they had never suffered such an attack and did not know what to do”.
“It was obviously embarrassing and traumatic for Ms. Skalde,” says the lawsuit. âThe Skaldes were also concerned that reporting the conduct could result in retaliation and create a crisis for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in the middle of the season, causing harm to the team and its players without it being the fault of the Skaldes. “
The trial is still active, and a judge on September 30 dismissed the Penguins’ request for arbitration in lieu of a jury trial.
âThe parties are exchanging information,â Fish said. âWe believe this is an attempt by the Penguins to prevent this from being in a public courtroom. With all the problems in the sport related to similar issues, we think it’s unfortunate, but we are going to move forward. “
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