A recent investigatory article from The Atlantic alleging a decades-long history of sexual abuse committed by a prominent youth hockey coach is sending shockwaves through the Chicagoland hockey community. The article profiles several male hockey players who allege that for over three decades, Thomas “Chico” Adrahtas sexually assaulted and abused them during their playing careers while Adrahtas served as their coach.
The article also raises serious questions about when USA Hockey, the American College Hockey Association, and the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI) knew — or should have known — of these sexual abuse allegations against Adrahtas, and what they chose to do with that knowledge.
During the timeframe in which Adrahtas is alleged to have committed these sexual assaults, as rumors and rumblings would arise regarding his sexual misconduct, he bounced around major youth hockey programs in the greater Chicagoland area, including:
- Team Illinois
- Chicago Young Americans
- Chicago Mission
- Chicago Patriots
- Franklin Park Jets
- Danville Wings
Adrahtas also served as coach for promient college hockey programs during this time as well, including:
- University of Minnesota
- Robert Morris University
- College of DuPage
The details of Adrahtas’ alleged sexual assaults during this timeframe followed a similar, sick pattern. Content warning: The next paragraph contains graphic details of the alleged sexual abuse and assault. Adrahtas would gain the trust of his players, and then suggest that they come back to his residence Lisle, Illinois — which everyone referred to as the “hockey house.” He told the boys he was inviting over a woman he knew from college who would give them oral sex. The only catch was the woman required that the boys were tied up at the ankles and wrists and blindfolded. The boys would comply — and “someone” — presumably Adrahtas, would enter the room and perform oral sex on them. One of the victims stated he now believes Adrahtas was essentially running a prostitution ring where he was bringing men over to perform oral sex on the boys in exchange for money.
The article states that this abuse continued for three decades — from the mid-1980’s through 2018 when Adrahtas abruptly resigned from Robert Morris University. By this time, not only had there been rumors and rumblings of Adrahtas’s sexual abuse, several of his employers were actually notified of allegations of abuse. However, just as we’ve seen in other recent examples when allegations of sexual assault would surface, Adrahtas would simply relocate to another team.
Now, as more victims come to light, USA Hockey and its affiliates are facing potential legal exposure for the sexual assaults committed by Adrahtas similar to that of USA Gymnastics (via Dr. Larry Nassar), the Catholic Church, or the Boy Scouts of America for the failure to report these allegations to proper authorities, and instead sweeping them under the rug and allowing Anrhatas to pinball from hockey club to hockey club preying on boys and young men along the way.
If nothing else, this article makes clear the need for a comprehensive investigation into these allegations to ensure that something like this does not happen again.
At Passen & Powell, we have substantial experience representing survivors of sexual abuse and assault in civil actions against not only the perpetrator — but against those individuals and organizations that enabled the perpetrator’s abuse. For a Free and Confidential Consultation regarding a potential case involving sexual assault or abuse, call us at 312-527-4500.
The University of Minnesota — obviously aware of the substantial legal exposure they face relating to these allegations — today issued the following statement:
The University of Minnesota is aware of The Athletic article regarding alleged serious misconduct by an individual who served as a University assistant hockey coach during the 1984-85 season. The University takes this disturbing report seriously and is taking immediate steps — including the retention of the law firm Perkins Coie — to determine what happened. The University is committed to providing support for our former students consistent with our public responsibilities and dedication to a supportive, inclusive and safe environment for our entire community.
The University goes on to encourage victims or anyone with information regarding this sexual misconduct to contact the University’s private law firm who is conducting an investigation on their behalf.
The attorneys of Passen & Powell want to stress that a law firm hired to defend the conduct of the University of Minnesota — or anyone else who enabled Adrahtas — is not who survivors or anyone with information should contact. Instead, they should contact the police, as well as lawyers who are dedicated to representing sexual assault survivors and holding those responsible accountable for their actions, such as the law firm of Passen & Powell.