Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Suburban volleyball coach’s accusers testify in Senate hearing
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Suburban volleyball coach’s accusers testify in Senate hearing

Thursday, May 17, 2018

By Hannah Meisel

* Michael O’Brien and Jon Seidel from the Sun-Times have been following this story for months now, in November publishing an expose on former Olympic volleyball coach turned suburban club coach Rick Butler’s alleged sexual abuse of his female team members.

Since then, Butler has been class action suit from parents and past alleged victims.

* Earlier this week, two of Butler’s former players testified in front of a special Senate committee hearing on sexual harassment about the alleged sexual abuse and even rape they endured while being coached by Butler decades ago.

They asked lawmakers to consider extending the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases, in situations when the accused abuser threatens to sue victims for defamation to try to keep them from coming forward.

* The Sun-Times’ report details how Butler and his wife, who run the Sports Performance Volleyball Club in Aurora, allegedly threatened the girls into silence.

Three women who in the 1990s accused a popular west suburban volleyball coach of sexual abuse have long said he was never prosecuted because they didn’t make their accusations until crucial legal deadlines had passed.

But Tuesday, one of them told state lawmakers Rick Butler could have faced criminal charges if another accuser, who remains anonymous to this day, had come forward at the same time. Instead, she was allegedly threatened into silence.

“She’s still ‘Jane Doe,’ as you can imagine,” Sarah Powers-Barnhard said during a hearing in Springfield. “And that came from being threatened.”

* WGN’s account of Sarah Powers Barnhard’s testimony

“He told me I had to follow him blindly. That if I wanted to reach my goals to play in college and the Olympics, I had to understand I was different from everybody else. I had to follow him blindly. I just listened and he just leaned over and kissed me. I hadn’t even kissed a boy at that point,” Powers Barnhard said.

She said kissing was just the beginning. And while she played for him, he sexually assaulted her hundreds of times.

“When we were in Germany as a team, we were on a train, and he grabbed me and took me into the bathroom and raped me there with my teammates close by,” she said.

“We were staying in tents and our host put is in a room. Rick slept on the floor next to me and he fondled me during the night with my teammates next to me. I could do nothing about it.”

* Tribune story

“I’m not here today because I want to relive all of the horrible things that Rick Butler did to me when I was a child entrusted to his care,” Julie Romias said in a hushed Capitol hearing room. “I’m here because I feel that I have to be because change needs to happen.”

So awful.

- Posted by Hannah Meisel        

  1. - JB Pritzker’s Quilted Vest - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 9:30 am:

    Youth sports in America: some coaches really care, some coaches you wouldn’t trust to watch your dog.

  2. - njt - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 9:42 am:

    FYI, the double quotes in the href on the hyperlinks is breaking the HTML for the linked articles.

  3. - OneMan - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 9:44 am:

    Ok, this is going to be a long one.

    My daughter played club volleyball in Aurora and the Aurora area for several years. The first club she played for was SportsPerformance, the next year she was not invited back (they start to limit the numbers) she was like second or third alternate or something and I think we later got a call that a slot had opened, but at that point, we had committed to a different club and once you committed you were financially locked in. This would have been in middle school.

    Shortly after at a thing for a different child and a different sport I was speaking to another family and found out about what Butler had been accused of, the ESPN Magazine story would have come out by then. This family for a variety of reasons and told me about how the program responded to their departure. “Your kid will never play varsity volleyball” and some other volleyball-related things along those same lines.

    At that point, we had decided my daughter would not try out again at Sports Performance, which was fine, she was a good player but not that good and they required a significant financial and time commitment.

    However, it is hard to understand the influence Rick had (and I suspect still has) unless you were involved in youth volleyball. His facility hosted events most weekends and may be one of the few purpose-built (we used to play in a lot of industrial parks) volleyball facilities in the country (they have even expanded it once). I knew of families who drove significant distances several days a week to take their daughters to that facility in Aurora. Sports Performance was at the top of the pyramid of volleyball.

    Relatively recently I was at an athletic thing and a parent mentioned something about their daughter playing for them and I have to admit I shot her a confused look because she said: “Well we talked with our daughter about it and she wanted to stay”. I have to admit I was disappointed but not surprised.

    I live kind of close to the facility and the place I get my oil changed is on the same side street. The parking lot is still full on weekends and people are parking on the street as people bring and watch their kids play at tournaments at the facility (it isn’t just kids in their program playing there, kids from all over the midwest play in tournaments there), buy stuff from the pro-shop and eat the concession stand food (when we were involved there you had to volunteer X hours at the concession stand).

    The fact people still patronize his facility is depressing.

  4. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    I am uncomfortable trying 25 year old cases of this kind because there isn’t a lot of concrete evidence beyond the two persons involved.

    There are statutes of limitations for practical reasons.

    I’d dread what my old relationships could do today if any of them felt that what we had was abusive or wrong.

  5. - Anon - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    I’m not going to comment on Mr. Butler or his past behavior because I’ve never met him and I don’t know the victims. If these things happened, then the system failed and modifications should be considered. I don’t know what happened in the past, but I can tell you what’s happening today.

    I have a lot of experience with club sports for my kids. Sports Peformance is the best club that I’ve ever been involved in. My daughter plays for Sports Performance today and she will stay there. There are hundreds of girls that are not only learning the game of volleyball, but about teamwork, responsibility, punctuality, humility, and many others. She also sees great women leaders and mentors that are coaches and managers and referees and players.

    If you want to go after Rick Butler, do your best. But, don’t ruin Sports Performance. It’s doing great things for young women and needs to stay. There are thousands of people that would speak to the merits of this club, if given the chance. The number of current members speaks to that.

  6. - Crispy - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    V-man: this isn’t about a bad breakup—it’s about abuse of kids by a powerful and threatening adult. Similar to the Larry Nassarr situation—it was all about power; “consent” wasn’t even in the ballpark. Those poor girls.

  7. - OneMan - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    So you feel the sanctions placed upon him by the various entities were inappropriate?

    Do you feel the pressure placed upon Sports Performance due to their relationship with his was inappropriate?

  8. - OneMan - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 10:32 am:

    Sorry the second question is.

    Do you feel the pressure placed upon Sports Performance due to their relationship with him was inappropriate?

  9. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    ==Similar to the Larry Nassarr==
    Perhaps, but perhaps not.
    We can”t know that.

    We could return to a time when only ladies coached ladies, and only men coached men. Our Victorian-Age ancestors would roll their eyes at us today, and ask how we forgot our common sense.

  10. - titan - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 10:53 am:

    +++ - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 10:40 am: We could return to a time when only ladies coached ladies, and only men coached men. Our Victorian-Age ancestors would roll their eyes at us today, and ask how we forgot our common sense. +++

    That isn’t it. Several sports have had issues with same sex predatory behavior (hockey, basketball, volleyball, soccer all come to mind). The problem is a combination of predators gravitating to young sports and the wildly outsized “cults of personality” that programs allow to build up around successful coaches (at least that is my take on it as a parent involved with Junior A level hockey and elite level gymnastics).

  11. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    VanillaMan. Dennis Hastert was coaching boys. Same sex coaches will not prevent abuse.

  12. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    Did you have to bring that up?
    I was enjoying my Victorian-Age fantasy.

  13. - Mama - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    Parents need to teach their children to speak up when they are being abused regardless of the outcome.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    ===Parents need to teach their children to speak up when they are being abused regardless of the outcome.===

    Stop victim shaming.

    That’s what you’re doing.


    Don’t respond to me about what you think you meant.

    Just stop.

  15. - Mad Brown - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 1:17 pm:

    Unless anyone has actually experienced an assault of a sexual nature, please stop giving advice. Please stop pretending this is some girls’ who have sour grapes, or some relationship went south.

    For more than 30 years these women have carried the scars of this type of abuse/trauma.

    Agree with Willy — victim shaming is a bad, bad look.

  16. - Anon - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 1:47 pm:

    If some of you want to mince words, then let’s do that…alleged victims and alleged offender. No convictions.

  17. - BigDoggie - Thursday, May 17, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    My question is, what is Butler’s current tie with Sports Performance. Is he still involved in the business (and still presumably profiting from it)? I ask because they are obviously still a prominent presence in the youth sports scene in the Aurora area. Also, a coworker that has a daughter that plays travel volleyball said that earlier this year Butler was still very much present at big AAU tournaments - he can’t coach but he was in the stands. If he’s done all the things he is accused of, it’s a wonder somebody has not confronted him at a match yet.

TrackBack URI

Post your comment... And please take a half second to come up with a nickname. It makes following the posts easier for everyone... Thanks

In other words, do your best to be civilized and smart.

* Reader comments closed until Memorial Day
* Population loss threatens home rule powers
* Rauner appears open to yet another expansion of the death penalty
* New Rauner online ad slams Pritzker over Madigan (again)
* Attendance issues
* It's just a bill
* A couple more weird Republican candidates slip through the screens
* Senate ignores IRS warning, passes tax work-around bill
* Mayor Emanuel's bill sponsor: "This is NOT a carjacking bill"
* Stop Illinois Big Coal Bailouts
* Today's quotable: "It's just show-biz"
* The taxes no one wants to talk about
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...









* Downstate lawmakers propose reinstating death p.....
* 美洲华裔博物馆17周年筹款晚宴盛大举行..
* Voter dilemma haunts Christian conservatives - .....
* Illinois planning for self-driving cars, eventu.....
* Lawmakers introduce death penalty measure - WSI.....
* Moylan should call for House speaker's resignat.....

* Vote expected on new Chicago police training academy
* Cases of fired pathologist reviewed after wrong rulings
* Jack Johnson's niece visits grave after posthumous pardon
* Indiana man receives life term in 7 women's deaths
* Police: Antioch woman fatally shot by officers was 'erratic'
* Settlement ends decade-old lawsuit with Illinois coal plants
* Search resumes for missing plane in Lake Michigan
* Correction: Death Penalty-Ohio story
* Indiana woman charged after daughter shot at Illinois party
* Illinois Senate wants more health data on veterans

* Illinois House divided on allowing police drone surveillance at events
* Downstate lawmakers propose reinstating death penalty
* Bill to allow police drone crowd surveillance in limbo in Illinois House
* House OKs bill to pay $63M in back wages owed to 24,000 workers
* Lawmaker charging retaliation wants complaint system changes
* Bill to give Sangamon County first dibs on state jobs passes Senate
* Illinois House considers using marijuana to fight opioids
* Under the Dome Podcast: Cassidy vs. Madigan. Guns. Death Penalty.
* Lawmakers debate non-death penalty parts of Rauner's safety rewrite
* Bernard Schoenburg: Butler seeks to help caucus with $$, joins gun group

* The opioid treatment gap
* Detroit offered $4 billion for Amazon HQ2
* Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million vehicles over cruise-control flaw
* ComEd bills are rising this summer—and more after that
* ComEd bills are rising this summer—and more after that

* LeBron James scores 46 points as Cavaliers force Game 7
* Chicago Police release surveillance photos of Red Line attempted robber
* USC president agrees to step down amid gynecologist scandal
* Lopez is good again, but Tigers rally to defeat White Sox
* Chicago Dogs baseball inaugural opening day — PHOTOS
* Man shot in Noble Square
* Man grazed in Far South Side shooting
* Emails show cooperation among EPA, climate-change deniers
* Hit and run injures three on Portland sidewalk; driver arrested
* Hitting the crappie just right: Sampling fishing on Carlyle Lake

* Boston bound: LeBron scores 46, pushes Cavs to Game 7 vs. Celtics
* Alberto it is: First named tropical system chugs toward Mexico, eastern U.S. Gulf Coast
* Joe Maddon's annual charity boxing event Respect 90 Main Event
* Giuliani: Trump wants briefing on classified info shared with lawmakers
* Science teacher who tackled student gunman among 2 wounded at Indiana middle school
* Emails show collaboration among EPA, climate-change deniers
* Fifty years before unfathomable Golden Knights, Glenn Hall and Scotty Bowman led expansion team to Stanley Cup Final
* Trump sounds optimistic tone about North Korea talks a day after canceling summit
* Harvey Weinstein, whose alleged conduct spurred #MeToo movement, charged with rape, sex abuse
* Orland Park man accused of sexually assaulting teen in his home

» Elgin Teachers Roundly Reject Novel Contract
» State Week: Budget Optimism, Retaliation Charged In House
» Police Drone Surveillance Measure Crashes In Illinois House
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: May 25, 2018
» Web Extra, The Week in Review: NFL Policy a Fumble?
» The Week in Review: Madigan Faces Retaliation Claims
» Reuniting Families with Military Medals; Author Chibundu Onuzo; Best Illinois Books
» #652 Give the Drummer Some
» Despite IRS Warning, Illinois Senate Approves Federal Tax Workaround
» May 24, 2018 - Full Show

* Illinois House divided on allowing police drone surveillance at events
* From the battlefield to the basketball court – Arlyn Lober survived WWII and dedicated himself to teaching
* Downstate lawmakers propose reinstating death penalty
* Bill to allow police drone crowd surveillance in limbo in Illinois House
* House OKs bill to pay $63M in back wages owed to 24,000 workers
* Thumbs Up: To perseverance and generosity
* Eugene Robinson: Trump knows words don't just describe reality -- they shape it
* Point: Let's restore constitutional protections on US college campuses
* Counterpoint: 'Preponderance of evidence' clause should remain in force on college campuses
* Lawmaker charging retaliation wants complaint system changes

* Illinois Lottery drawing for FRIDAY, MAY 25
* Moline grads urged to 'demonstrate integrity'
* Fire damages Stanford house amid thunderstorm
* Traveling performers present ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ in Pekin
* Rantoul High School Graduation 2018
* Summer Camp kicks off with usual blend of outlandish sights and live music
* National car club sees private Pekin collection of old vehicles
* Iraq War vet remembers Tipton's Sgt. Sissel: 'The all-American kid'
* EM salutes police officer who died in 1969
* EasMomentum rally includes mural unveiling

* Boys lacrosse: South Elgin downs Barrington for sectional crown
* Boys track and field: Cardenas entering new territory for West Chicago
* Batter up! Rosemont team joins suburban baseball lineup
* Despite loss, Chicago Dogs home opener deemed a success
* Images: Glenbard West High School graduation

* Hultgren talks gun control after St. Charl...
* Underwood rally draws more than 300 suppor...
* Letter: Hultgren isn't good for the enviro...
* Lobbying intensifies for advance refunding...
* EDITORIAL: Sign your names, GOP Congressme...
* PPP: Rodney Davis up by only 3, Hultgren a...
* US Surgeon General speaks at Community Lea...
* Letter: Let's fix the Trump issue - Northw...
* Blockchain Is 'World-Changing', Says US Co...
* This RSS feed URL is deprecated

* US Sen. Corker meets with Venezuela's Pres......
* US Sen. Bob Corker meets Maduro in Venezuela...
* How area members of Congress voted on vets......
* Senate foreign relations chairman meets Ma......
* Ed Markey wants Europe's sweeping new inte......

* How area members of Congress voted on vets......
* After another mass shooting, Parkland acti......
* US Senator Kaine Cosponsors Wage Act to St......
* Senator Tammy Duckworth Supports #TakeAKne......
* Luetkemeyer, Wagner attend Trump signing o......

* Robot U: The First American A.I. Undergrad Program is Here, and Already Incredibly Elite
* 20 skills that are quickly gaining traction in the freelance job market — and the online courses to learn them
* Saturday Street Fest At Wilson & Broadway
* 46 states, 56 countries represented in UI iMBA’s first graduating class
* What Do These Business School Deans Really Think About The Online MBA?
* Indications that EdTech May Not Be a Strategic Investment
* The Good Life and Open Online Learning: MOOCs after the hype.
* Post to be finalized May 26, 2018
* How conservative is your Illinois lawmaker?
* Defending stupid. It’s not even better than nothing.

* IEMA Releases New Broadcast Campaign Focusing on Functional Needs Emergency Preparedness
* Rend Lake Water Conservancy District Water Main Break
* Statement from Gov. Rauner
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May
* IEMA Highlights Role of Volunteers in Disasters

* US reaches agreement to lift ZTE ban with conditions
* Best Buy has $300 off Galaxy S9, Note 8 if you sign with a carrier
* iPhone X 2018 screen changes, Essential in trouble & more – Pocketnow Daily
* No wireless charging on the HTC U12+? Too thick, too slick, not quick
* iPhone X camera glass cracking, people wonder why
* Inside the climate change lawsuit pitting Big Oil against San Francisco and Oakland
* Samsung Galaxy Note9 benchmarked with Exynos 9810

* Rondon, defense spoil Lopez's gem vs. Tigers
* Rodon still on track after struck in head by liner
* Santiago looking for better control vs. Tigers
* 2018 MLB Draft Profile: Shane McClanahan
* Most Essential White Sox Vote: Round 6
* Cease throws well for Winston-Salem
* White Sox Minor League Update: May 24, 2018

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller