EX-MLB Player Chad Curtis’ Admission He Kissed Student Admissible at Civil Trial

The three former student-athletes sexually assaulted by Curtis are suing the ex-MLB player and Lakewood Public Schools.

Curtis, who played for the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees during his 10 year MLB career, is serving seven to fifteen years in prison on six sexual assault convictions.

As the judge has already found Curtis liable for battery against the plaintiffs, the jury trial, scheduled for May 30 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will determine damages. 

The jury will also hear the plaintiffs’ claim against Curtis for intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, and claims against the school district and board of education for Title IX violations for teacher-to-student harassment. The plaintiffs also alleged the school district failed to properly train staff.

Title IX and K-12 sexual assault victims attorney, Monica Beck of The Fierberg National Law Group and School Violence Law, represents the young women. While, Curtis, who – against the judge’s recommendation – will act as his own attorney. 

More on Curtis’ admission, the judge’s decision, and the upcoming jury trial, as reported by MLive.com reporter, John Agar:

Former student-athletes suing ex-MLB player Chad Curtis and Lakewood Public Schools can present at trial evidence of a school board member’s support for Curtis.

Curtis told Brian Potter, then a member of the school board, that he kissed one of the students who accused him of sexual assault. Potter told no authorities about their conversation.

A jury trial before U.S. District Judge Janet Neff is scheduled for May 30 in Grand Rapids.

The school district sought to exclude Potter’s testimony because “boards of education speak only through their minutes.”

Former Major League Baseball player Chad Curtis walks into the courtroom during a re-sentencing meeting on Thursday, June 30, 2016 inside the Barry County Circuit Court in Hastings, Michigan. Tom Brenner / MLive.com

Attorneys for the young women want to present the evidence “not to show that the Lakewood School Board, as a body, performed these actions, but the highest-level administrators of the school publicly did so.”

The school district strongly condemned Potter for keeping Curtis’ admission secret before and after Curtis’ criminal trial for sexually assaulting three of the four plaintiffs.

Potter also showed support in notes to Curtis and his wife, and once said he sat on Curtis’ side of the courtroom rather than with the “accusers.”

Potter resigned shortly after he admitted in a deposition that Curtis told him of his feelings for a student-athlete and that Curtis had kissed her.

On April 28, 2012, a day after police told the schools about Curtis’ suspected abuse of student-athletes, Potter wrote to Curtis: “You have lived and continue to live a righteousness (sic) life that no one, or no words can take way.”

Days later, Curtis told Potter that he had kissed one of the girls at the high school, had been “inappropriate” and “just liked everything about her.”

Until he was deposed in late 2015, Potter had told only his wife and a close friend about the conversation, attorneys for the plaintiffs say.

He had also tried to keep the student-athletes from going forward with the criminal case. He met with one of the fathers and said “no good can come out of a trial,” filings by the plaintiffs show.

Potter provided a character reference letter in October 2013 when Curtis was sentenced. Another school board member, Gary Foltz, wrote a letter on Curtis’ behalf, too.

Meanwhile, the judge denied Lakewood’s request that “all evidence and testimony about alleged student-to-student sexual or sex-based harassment” be excluded.

She also rejected a motion by the plaintiffs to exclude evidence or arguments about “prior bad acts” or character evidence about the plaintiffs or their parents who are all expected to testify.

Based on questioning during depositions, the plaintiffs think the defense will try to impeach the character of the student-athletes and parents.

The judge could revisit the ruling based on testimony at trial.


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