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$14 million settlement for water polo players accused of coaching abuse

12 female water polo players in California He accused his former coach of sexually abusing him as a child. Nearly $14 million reached a settlement in two corporate lawsuits that they said could not defend them.

Players sued USA Water Polo, punishing local clubs in the sport and The International Water Polo Club, a club in Los Alamitos, a city in Orange County, Calif., is led by coach Bahram Hojreh.

In the lawsuit, the 12 players said that from 2012 to 2017, Mr Hojreh assaulted them during what was supposed to be one-on-one coaching in the water. During these sessions The players argued that he grabbed their breasts and reached under the bathing suit and sexually assaulted the indictment. Mr Hojreh told the players they needed to fight him, the players said, and what he did was show the techniques they would have to deal with while playing in college.

Hojreh, 45, has also faced nearly thirty criminal charges related to the allegations. He did not plead guilty to all charges.

A $13.85 million civil lawsuit was filed in Orange County Superior Court on Friday. According to Morgan Stewart, an attorney representing 11 plaintiffs, the insurance company representing both the USA Water Polo and the International Water Polo Club will pay for the settlement.

In a statement on Monday, Christopher Ramsey, chief executive of USA Water Polo, said: “We have heard the plaintiff’s testimony. and their allegations are heartbreaking.” He said he hoped the settlement would “They can start a new chapter in their lives.”

Email messages sent to The International Water Polo Club on Monday night received a response from Mark Hojreh, who identified himself as the brother of the former coach and one of his personal lawyers. Mr Hojreh said his brother had always denied the allegations, but added. “I can’t go into the details of the evidence to prove his innocence.” He also said the insurance company agreed to terminate the deal without his consent. International Water Polo Club

Mr Stewart said in an interview on Monday that the case highlighted the need for systematic changes in the regulation of sport. USA Water Polo said it collects fees and club membership fees from the clubs they penalize. “But then they refused to supervise and they refused to train these club teams and their chairman in a really meaningful manner,” the situation said. It “creates an unreasonable risk for minors participating in the club’s programme,” said Mr Stewart. “You are creating an environment that may be ripe for sexual harassment.”

Hojreh is also a water polo coach at schools in Irvine and Anaheim. Mr Stewart said the civil lawsuit against the school caused by Mr Hojreh’s conduct was still pending.

The 34 criminal charges Mr Hojreh is facing in Orange County. Due to the allegations of 12 players in his club. A total of nine counts about sex use involving unconscious people. and another charge of acts of obscenity against a child under 14 years of age.

Hojreh’s attorney, John D. Barnett, declined to comment on the deal on Monday.

credit…Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register via Associated Press

Plaintiffs are all members of Mr Hoj Reh’s club. The abuse occurred between 2012 and 2017 when players were minors – some aged 13 or 14, Mr Stewart said. In 2017, allegations emerged that players at clubs were harming opponents during matches – deploying maneuvers. that Mr Hojreh has shown to them According to Mr Stewart

The United States water polo said it first learned of the allegations against Mr Hojreh in January 2018. That was when the organization was contacted by the US Center for SafeSport, an independent watchdog at Congress and the Olympic and Paralympic Committee. United States of America to investigate sexual harassment Allegations at the Olympics “When notified by the Center, USAWP immediately suspended Mr. Hojreh’s membership,” USA Water Polo said in a statement.

Mr Stewart said Mr Hojreh had presented himself to the players and parents as a key figure in the world of water polo. That perception benefits his abusive behavior, according to Mr Stewart. Mr Hojreh tells his players that they must endure sexual harassment in order to play at a higher level. Stewart said, “And that’s how he kept them silent for years. It basically threatens their future careers.”

The settlement comes at a time when sports coaches and executives are increasingly being called upon for inappropriate behavior. In 2018, Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar, a former sports medicine physician at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, was convicted. Sentenced to 40 years to 125 years for sexual assault in his custody, the case eventually led to a 2021 charge of human trafficking and sexual harassment against the 2012 women’s Olympic team coach. John Geddert, who soon committed suicide, and in 2020 Didier Gailhaguet, president of the French Ice Sports Federation. It has resigned after several underage figure skaters accused their coaches of rape and sexual harassment.

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