A former youth hockey player has filed the first Child Victims Act lawsuit against USA Hockey, alleging it negligently allowed a Depew youth hockey coach to molest him for seven years.
Douglas Nail was a youth hockey coach with the Saints Youth Hockey organization when he was arrested in 2004, accused of possessing more than 600 images of child pornography. After pleading guilty to the federal charge, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In a lawsuit filed Friday, a 42-year-old man identified only as LG 38 Doe alleged that Nail molested him when he was about 7 to 15 years old and playing hockey for the Saints, from 1985 through 1992. The abuse allegedly occurred at Nail's house, at hockey tournaments and at other events.
The plaintiff alleged that USA Hockey and the Saints Hockey Club were aware prior to the abuse that a number of their coaches were sexually abusing young boys, but the organizations showed a reckless disregard for the safety of children and were negligent in selecting and training coaches.
The Saints Hockey Club, which dismissed Nail as a coach after his arrest, is named as a defendant in the lawsuit. So is Nail.
Nail, who was formerly a Boy Scout leader, is also a defendant in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed in December against the Boy Scouts of America and its Greater Niagara Frontier Council. In that case, he is accused of molesting a former Boy Scout from Troop 565 in Depew from 1983 to 1987.
USA Hockey, the national governing body for youth hockey in the United States, released a statement Monday by its senior director of communications, Dave Fischer: "USA Hockey was today made aware of the lawsuit and has no previous knowledge of the allegations included in the lawsuit. USA Hockey is in the process of reporting the case to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and also noting in our records that Douglas Nail is permanently ineligible based upon his prior criminal history. Our records show he has not been a member of USA Hockey since 2004."
Neither Saints president Tony Johnson nor vice president Dave Dee responded to requests for comment Monday.
Nail did not respond to a Buffalo News phone call seeking his comment.
Story topics: Child Victims Act