It was only a matter of time before the increasingly proactive policing of sexual assault trained its sight on high school sports. Now that time has come.
As reported by golf.com and the Scottsbluff Star Herald, Michael Klein, the former golf coach at Scottsbluff (Neb.) High School, has been sued by an unidentified former student-athlete who claims the 62-year-old repeatedly sexually assaulted her during the period when he was her coach, beginning in 2007. Among other details, the abuse allegedly took place at Scotts Bluff country club, where Klein was a golf pro and where the team often practiced, as well as other locations including the coach’s house.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of Klein’s conviction on four counts of first-degree sexual assault, a Class II felony, related to alleged relationships with two former athletes. One of those athletes is the same woman who has now filed this suit. Klein was sentenced to 24-32 years in prison, a sentence which could reasonably leave him behind bars for the rest of his life.
The new lawsuit also implicates Scottsbluff High School and Scotts Bluff Country Club, claiming negligence on the part of both parties. Most damagingly, the victim claims the school intentionally showed indifference to the charges in a direct violation of Title IX.
That the lawsuit would come in the aftermath of Klein’s conviction is perhaps common sense. Yet it also comes amid the growing righteous maelstrom of the #metoo movement, initially sparked by the allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and expanding to entangle members of Congress, Hollywood and now sports.
Whether others are emboldened to come forward with allegations against former coaches and superiors now remains to be seen. At the moment, it’s a notable salvo.