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Former NHL player sues Blackhawks and speaks out about sexual abuse

NOEL KING, HOST:

Kyle Beach, a professional hockey player, has identified himself as the victim in a sexual assault scandal that enveloped the Chicago Blackhawks. Beach reported that a coach assaulted him in 2010, but he said the team's top leaders did nothing about it. A recent report corroborates his account. Here's NPR's Tom Goldman.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: In May, the man we now know to be Kyle Beach filed a John Doe lawsuit against the Blackhawks, alleging he was sexually assaulted by video coach Brad Aldrich in 2010 and that team officials ignored the accusation. This week, an independent investigation confirmed his claim about upper management. After the findings were made public on Tuesday, two of the top officials still with the team were ousted, including Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman. Then last night, Beach went on the Canadian network TSN and revealed the impact of an incident he kept buried for the last 11 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KYLE BEACH: So I was scared mostly. I felt alone and dark.

GOLDMAN: Beach was a 20-year-old minor league player in the Blackhawks organization at the time. He said when he reported the alleged assault, he was aware it went up the chain of command. The investigation indicates officials didn't want bad publicity with the team about to play in the Stanley Cup finals. Aldrich kept his job and joined in the celebration after Chicago won.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BEACH: To see him paraded around, lifting the cup, at the team pictures, at the celebrations - it made me feel like nothing. It made me feel like I didn't exist. It made me feel like that he was in the right and I was wrong.

GOLDMAN: Aldrich resigned from the team and, in 2013, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct involving a minor in Michigan. Beach now plays professionally in Germany. He says after this week's report, he feels vindicated and can start to heal. Late last night, the NHL Players Association acknowledged Beach reported the alleged assault to a union doctor in 2010, but the union failed to act. The Players Association called it a serious failure.

Tom Goldman, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF CORRE'S "TRANSIENT (B)") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.