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Ex-Blackhawks prospect Kyle Beach says he’s ‘John Doe’ in sex assault case

He says in a TV interview that one reason he is revealing his identity is that it’s part of his “process of recovery.”
Kyle Beach, a Blackhawks forward prospect in 2008, controls the puck in the first period of a preseason game against the Stars on Oct. 2, 2008, in Dallas. He came forward Wednesday as the player identified as John Doe in a report released a day earlier that detailed inaction by Blackhawks team executives in the wake of his 2010 allegation that he was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach.
Kyle Beach, a Blackhawks forward prospect in 2008, controls the puck in the first period of a preseason game against the Stars on Oct. 2, 2008, in Dallas. He came forward Wednesday as the player identified as John Doe in a report released a day earlier that detailed inaction by Blackhawks team executives in the wake of his 2010 allegation that he was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach. [ TONY GUTIERREZ | ASSOCIATED PRESS ]
Published Oct. 28
Updated Oct. 28

Kyle Beach, a former member of the Blackhawks organization, came forward Wednesday as the player identified as John Doe in a report released a day earlier that detailed inaction by team executives in the wake of his 2010 allegation that he was sexually assaulted by an assistant coach.

In a lengthy, emotional interview aired on Canada’s TSN TV network, Beach, 31, said he was revealing his identity as part of his “process of recovery” and because “details were pretty accurate in the report, and it’s been figured out.”

Beach, a 2008 first-round draft pick by Chicago now playing professionally in Germany, said of his reaction to the release of the 107-page report, as well as to expressions of regret made by Blackhawks president of hockey operations Stan Bowman and CEO Danny Wirtz, “I cried, I smiled, I laughed, I cried some more. … Just a great feeling of relief and vindication, and it was no longer my word against everybody else’s.”

Beach said he felt “alone and dark” in the days after the alleged assault as the team went on to win its first Stanley Cup since 1961. He said he is only now beginning the healing process.

According to the report of an independent investigation the Blackhawks commissioned in response to lawsuits by Beach — identified as John Doe in his suit — and an unidentified person, the encounter between Beach, then a 20-year-old minor-leaguer called up for the playoffs, and then- assistant Brad Aldrich, then 27, occurred on May 8 or 9 in 2010.

Beach told investigators Aldrich threatened him with a souvenir baseball bat before forcibly performing sex acts on him, allegations he also detailed in his suit.

“I reported this, and I was made aware that it made it all the way up the chain of command by (mental skills coach Jim Gary), and nothing happened,” Beach said. “It was like (Aldrich’s) life was the same as the day before. Same every day.

“And then when (the Blackhawks) won (the Cup), to see him paraded around lifting the Cup, at the parade, at the team pictures, at celebrations, it made me feel like nothing.”

Aldrich told investigators the encounter was consensual. Asked Wednesday by the Associated Press about the investigation report, Aldrich responded: “I have nothing to say.”

In a statement attributed to the team, the Blackhawks commended Beach for his courage in coming forward and reiterated the organization’s “deepest apologies” for what he has gone through and its failure to promptly respond in 2010.

The investigation by a Chicago law firm detailed how senior leaders of the Blackhawks seemingly ignored the sexual assault accusations raised days before the Cup win.

According to the report, about two weeks after the alleged assault, on May 23, 2010, right after Chicago advanced to the Cup final, Bowman, then the general manager; top team executive Al MacIsaac; team president John McDonough; executive vice president Jay Blunk; and assistant general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff met with coach Joel Quenneville and Gary to discuss the allegations.

Former federal prosecutor Reid Schar, who led the investigation, said accounts of the meeting “vary significantly.” But there was no evidence that anything was done about the accusations before McDonough contacted the team’s director of human resources June 14, five days after the Blackhawks won the Cup, a delay that violated the team’s sexual harassment policy, Schar said.

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The investigation report said that winning the Cup took priority over taking immediate action on the allegations.

The investigations’ ramifications have stretched into several corners of the NHL, which fined the Blackhawks $2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response.”

Aldrich stepped down after the 2009-10 season when given the choice to either resign or take part in an internal investigation.

McDonough, Blunk and Gary are no longer employed in the NHL.

Bowman and MacIsaac left the Blackhawks on Tuesday after the report was released. Bowman also stepped down from a similar position with the U.S. Olympic hockey team.

Quenneville, now the Panthers’ coach, was slated to meet with commissioner Gary Bettman today. Cheveldayoff, now the Jets’ general manager, was planning to talk to Bettman on Monday.

According to the report, players association leader Donald Fehr was contacted twice about allegations connected to Aldrich, including by a Beach confidant. Fehr told investigators he couldn’t recall either conversation but did not deny they had occurred.

He said in a statement Wednesday that Beach had talked to a doctor with the player assistance program and it was a “serious failure” that further action wasn’t taken. Fehr said he was sorry and was committed to making changes.

Wirtz, the son of team chairman Rocky Wirtz, met with current players Wednesday.

Captain Jonathan Toews, who also was captain in 2009-10, said, “We wish we could have done something differently, myself included. … My heart goes out to Kyle. … It’s not an excuse looking back, but the truth is, a lot of us were focused on hockey every single day.”

Former Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, now with the Blackhawks, played with Beach in juniors and said it’s “heartbreaking,” “frustrating” and “upsetting” to learn what he went through.

Rocky Wirtz said Tuesday that he and Danny were first made aware of Beach’s accusations ahead of a May filing of his lawsuit. The other suit was filed by a former student whom Aldrich was convicted of assaulting in Michigan in 2013. That suit says Aldrich was able to land a position at that school in part because of positive job references from the Blackhawks.

QUENNEVILLE BEHIND BENCH AS PANTHERS WIN AGAIN: The Panthers became the 14th team in NHL history to start 7-0-0 by beating the visiting Bruins 4-1 with Quenneville behind the bench. Quenneville told reporters in the morning that he looked forward “to continuing to contribute to the process” of investigating the Blackhawks’ handling of the sexual assault allegations and he wouldn’t comment further until after meeting with Bettman. He wasn’t made available to the media after the game. General manager Bill Zito spoke instead, saying that in the wake of Beach’s interview, “we felt it appropriate that I address you all.” He said in a statement the team commended Beach for coming forward, the information in the report is “deeply troubling” and the team would have no other comment until after the meeting with Bettman.

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