Lawsuit filed against San Jose Sharks’ parent company for sexual abuse by youth hockey coach

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A lawsuit has been filed against the company that owns the San Jose Sharks alleging that a 12-year-old player was sexually abused by a former youth hockey coach.

The suit filed in Santa Clara Superior Court on Thursday alleges that Sharks Sports & Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiary, Sharks Ice, LLC, were negligent in the case involving former coach Kevin Whitmer.

The lawsuit alleges that Whitmer began grooming the 12-year-old male victim in April 2021 and assaulted him numerous times at Sharks Ice. The suit accuses Whitmer of performing sexual acts on the boy while they were alone in the locker room.

The suit alleges that Sharks Ice and Sharks Sports & Entertainment were told by a program supervisor that Whitmer was breaking locker room rules but the companies took no action. The program supervisor was fired for unknown reasons, according to the lawsuit.

Sharks Sports and Entertainment and Sharks Ice oversee operations of the Jr. Sharks and employed Whitmer as a head coach, private skills instructor and player development coach for nearly six years, according to the lawsuit. The Jr. Sharks offers competitive teams for boys and girls.

A spokesman for the Sharks declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Whitmer was arrested by San Jose police in November for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and possession of child pornography.



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