GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – Imprisoned ex-Major League Baseball player Chad Curtis says he’s innocent of sexual assault allegations made by three teenagers in a lawsuit.
The $4 million suit filed in federal court in Grand Rapids accuses Curtis, 45, of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Curtis responded to the suit on Tuesday in a filing written by his lawyer, Joe Sadler.
Sadler writes that his client “has always maintained his innocence of the charges brought by plaintiffs.”
Curtis is serving seven years to 15 years in state prison on a criminal sexual conduct conviction. Curtis was charged with sexually assaulting teen girls in 2012 while working as a volunteer weight room strength trainer at Lakewood High School in Woodland, about 50 miles southeast of Grand Rapids.
During a probable cause hearing last June, two teen girls gave their accounts of how the alleged molestation happened.
A 16-year-old said Curtis straddled her on a training bench to massage her abs, then pulled off her sports bra and massaged her breasts. He also allegedly kissed her exposed breast in a separate, similar incident, and touched her crotch area under her spandex.
Another girl said she was 15-years-old when Curtis allegedly touched her in the groin area under the guise of trying to rehabilitate a knee injury in the locked training room. He is accused of massaging the girl’s buttocks, as well.
Prosecutors say the third accuser is 13- to 15-years-old and was allegedly inappropriately touched by Curtis on school grounds, like the other two teens.
“Mr. Curtis admits that he was arrested, tried and convicted, but states that his conviction is under appeal,” Sadler wrote. “Mr. Curtis denies doing anything improper or that students required protection from him.”
Between 1992 and 2001, Curtis played for the then-California Angels, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. He won two World Series rings with the Yankees.
Curtis was poised to become the head football coach at Lakewood High School, near Lake Odessa, but resigned when the criminal complaint surfaced. He had been volunteering as a strength trainer at the school for about two years.
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