On Friday, August 17th, the U.S. Youth Soccer Association and their affiliate, the Cal North Soccer Association, agreed to pay a total of $8.2 million to the plaintiff, a 19-year-old survivor of sexual abuse. This is the largest settlement for a single person in a sexual abuse case in the history of the United States.
You can read the local news coverage at The Mercury News here.
The plaintiff alleges that both organizations failed to properly screen their staff, ultimately leading to repeated sexual abuse by a Sunnyvale coach that started in 2011 – when she was 13 years old. The coach, Emanuele Fabrizio, abused the plaintiff from May 2011 to March 2012, engaging in sexual misconduct and inappropriate activity multiple times.
Fabrizio volunteered for a coaching position at the West Valley Youth Soccer League in 2010, declaring that he had never been convicted for a felony on his application. However, he failed to mention that in 2006, he was convicted of domestic violence and battery against his wife. Although Fabrizio pleaded guilty in 2012 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the plaintiff believed that the organizations in charge of hiring the coach were equally responsible for the situation.
A criminal background check would have automatically disqualified Fabrizio from the position, but the affiliate league failed to conduct one. At the time, the U.S Youth Soccer Association did not require affiliates to conduct background checks.
The association, considered the county’s largest youth sports organization, argued that they did not have a duty of care to ensure all their affiliates conduct background checks, but an appellate court disagreed. Additionally, the league attempted to dispute the extent of pain and suffering of the plaintiff – despite widespread knowledge of the far-reaching, traumatic effects of repeated sexual abuse.
The association agreed to pay $6.5 million, while the affiliate settled for $1.7 million.
This landmark settlement is a victory for victims of institutional abuse and all those organizations involved. It sets a new precedent for acceptable settlements in these cases, holding companies and institutions fully accountable for any negligence that led to sexual misconduct and abuse.
If you or a loved one has been a survivor of sexual misconduct or abuse, contact the compassionate attorneys of Estey and Bomberger, LLP immediately. Our experience, skill, and compassion for survivors of institutional abuse has led to historic settlements and proven results.
Most importantly, we are 100% confidential with your information. We understand the deeply sensitive nature of these crimes – and we fully respect the wishes, needs, and privacy of our clients. Contact our team for any youth sports team abuse or any other sexual assault or abuse situation today for a free consultation and fight to hold organizations fully responsible for their negligence. Call us today! (800) 925-0723
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