Practice devoted to helping childhood sexual abuse victims and their families
Robert Allard is a trailblazing attorney whose sole focus is to legally expose youth-serving organizations that fail to protect children from predators. Through the cases that he handles, Mr. Allard strives to increase awareness about childhood sexual abuse in schools, sport, and other organizations whose employees regularly interact with children. His mission is to make positive changes to child protection systems within these organizations, such as enhanced screening and training, with the goal of eradicating childhood sexual abuse in our society.
He is widely viewed as one of the nation’s top advocates in the area of “institutional sexual abuse”, meaning abuse occurring within organizations such as schools, youth sports leagues, daycare centers, camps, churches, group homes, and other child-care organizations.
Bob Allard has been THE lawyer responsible for court-room accountability for athlete sexual abuse inside the Olympic Movement over the past decade. He has been there to not just win for his current client, but to change case law and support legislation that would upset a system that had left victims in the cold. Victims need compensation to help them heal from trauma. Prevention is the best remedy of all, and Bob Allard’s long-term commitment and integrity is changing the landscape for athletes in sports by making the problem too expensive for the Olympic Movement to ignore.
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, J.D., CEO, Champion Women, 3X Olympic Gold Medalist
As a result of his tireless advocacy, Mr. Allard was named California Lawyer Magazine’s Attorney of the Year in the field of Public Justice as well as Santa Clara County Trial Lawyer of the Year an unprecedented four times.
The San Jose Mercury News wrote an extensive front-page story about Mr. Allard and the positive changes he has made in the Olympic Movement, writing, “[he] uses civil courts to raise awareness, empower the victims and try to force the institutions to create better safeguards.”
For his efforts to reform the Olympic Movement, Mr. Allard was nationally recognized as the “Person of the Year” by a major swimming publication and one of the “Top 10 Most Impactful People in Swimming” by Swimming World.
Protecting Children by Using the Law
Robert Allard is an inspiring attorney fighting for the victims of sex abuse and assault, leading the way for those abused in sport or at universities. This is a growing field, where he sets a standard of trauma-informed dealings with clients and devotion to the public interest.
Marci Hamilton, CEO & Legal Director, CHILD USA
Of critical importance to Mr. Allard’s legal team is that something positive emerge from tragedy so that all children are better protected from sexual predators. This change comes in the form of enacting new laws as well as forcing institutions to develop new and stronger child protection rules and procedures.
“Our cases do not end with just a monetary payout. Through these claims, we will fight to increase awareness, enact legislation and force policy changes.” Mr. Allard said.
As a direct result of litigation initiated against USA Swimming in 2010, an explosive story on the ABC 20/20 program, and the media coverage that followed, child protection programs were strengthened not only within the sport of swimming but across the entire Olympic Movement.
These changes include:
- Expanded background checks which go well beyond criminal background checks;
- Mandated training on mandated reporter responsibilities, predator identification and boundary invasion; and
- The development of clear reporting mechanisms through which parents and children can submit complaints.
In 2018, Mr. Allard, as part of the “Committee to Restore Integrity” in amateur sports, contributed to the passing of a new law to protect amateur athletes from sex abuse. The bill, authored by Senator Diane Feinstein, made all coaches across the Olympic Movement mandated reporters.
Currently, Mr. Allard is attacking arbitrary laws that remove sexual abuse victims’ right to sue for their harm. The “Sexual Abuse by Power Accountability Act” is an example of that work. If approved, it would prohibit educational institutions from invoking a statute of limitations if they received Title IX federal funds.
Mr. Allard has also worked with legislators in California to:
A Proven Track Record of Success
- Abolish arbitrary time limits that deny victims compensation for their harm (see California Civil Code Section 340.1);
- Prohibit confidentiality agreements in sexual abuse settlements so as not to silence victims (see California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1002);
- Protect child victims from unlimited psychological examinations by defense doctors (see Senate Bill 755); and
- Require California school district to train employees to identify behavioral characteristics of sexual predators to prevent sexual abuse.
- Class action lawsuit in Ohio on behalf of 100’s of male athletes who were sexually abused by former Ohio State University physician Dr. Richard Strauss (see Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss sexually abused 177 male students, report finds - The Washington Post);
- Multi-victim claim in Colorado against United States Taekwondo (“USAT”) on behalf of female athletes sexually molested by former gold medal athlete Steven Lopez and his brother and Olympic coach Jean Lopez (see Steven Lopez, Jean Lopez Taekwondo Lawsuit, Sexual Misconduct - Sports Illustrated);
- Case in Southern California involving former swimming national record holder Ariana Kukors-Smith who was sexually molested as a minor by her former Olympic coach Sean Hutchison (see ‘My insides are shattered’: Former Olympian Ariana Kukors tells of alleged abuse - The Washington Post);
- Federal claim in Indiana involving former silver medalist, national champion and All-American Terin Humphrey who was sexually abused as a teenager by notorious former Olympic physician Larry Nassar (see World champion gymnast Terin Humphrey alleges Larry Nassar sexually abused her (mercurynews.com));
- Cases across California involving former female swimmers sexually abused as children by former silver medalist swimmer and Olympic coach Mitch Ivey, Andy King and Don King (see USA Swimming: 6 women sue over alleged sex abuse by coaches (usatoday.com));
- Case in Santa Clara County against the United States Youth Soccer Association (“USYSA”) based on a claim that the coach who sexually abused a minor athlete had not been appropriately background screened (see Youth soccer: $8.2 million settlement in sex-abuse lawsuit over coach screening (mercurynews.com); and
- Matter in Southern California against the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) and USAT (see Lawsuit: USOC, USA Taekwondo Enabled "Sexual Abuse, Exploitation, And Trafficking" Of Athletes (deadspin.com)).
- Case in Marin County against the United States Tennis Association (“USTA”) and its regional entity United States Tennis Association - NorCal (“NorCal”) on behalf of victims sexually abused by former tennis coach Normandie Burgos (see A Tennis Coach Was Abusing Minors. Should the Sport’s Federation Have Known? - The New York Times (nytimes.com))
- Childhood sexual abuse cases against public school districts in California including:
- Evergreen School District in San Jose, CA (see Evergreen School district to pay families of girls sexually molested by their teacher | Daily Mail Online);
- Morgan Hill Unified School District (see California school district settles sex abuse suit for $8.25M - The Business Journal, Morgan Hill Unified School District Agrees to $8.25M Settlement Following Teacher Molestation Case – NBC Bay Area and Morgan Hill: Molestation settlement mandates school training (mercurynews.com) and https://morganhilltimes.com/mhusd-settles-negligence-claim-for-750k/);
- New Haven Unified School District in the East San Francisco Bay (see Alameda County: Two lawsuits allege child molest in schools (eastbaytimes.com);
- San Jose Unified School District (see San Jose School District sued over coach’s illicit photos of athletes (usatodayhss.com));
- San Ramon Valley Unified School District (see Wrestling Coach Sex Crimes: Cal High, Church Settle For $1.5M | San Ramon, CA Patch);
- Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District (see Former runner sues Los Gatos High alleging sexual abuse by coach (mercurynews.com);
- San Diego Unified School District (see Former La Jolla High students sue district alleging it mishandled sexual abuse allegations - The San Diego Union-Tribune);
- Union School District in San Jose, CA (see Molestation lawsuit aims to limit San Jose student-teacher contact through social media, texting (mercurynews.com);
- Fremont Unified School District (see Alameda County: Two lawsuits allege child molest in schools (eastbaytimes.com);
- Jefferson School District in Tracy, CA (see Parents of molested student suing district - News - recordnet.com - Stockton, CA);
- Milpitas Unified School District in the South Bay;
- Los Banos Unified School District (see Woman claims sexual abuse by Los Banos teachers in lawsuit | Merced Sun-Star);
- South San Francisco Unified School District (see School district sued for alleged sex abuse by middle school teacher in South San Francisco (kron4.com);
- San Mateo Union High School District (see https://childmolestationattorneys.com/news/arrest-of-aragon-high-school-water-polo-coach-joshua-tatro/);
- San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento County
- Private school cases
- Valley Christian Schools in San Jose, CA (see Ex-student sues Valley Christian over coach sex abuse (mercurynews.com);
- Presentation High School in San Jose, CA (see Presentation High grads allege school covered up sex abuse (mercurynews.com);
- The Harker School in San Jose, CA;
- West Valley-Mission Community College District in San Jose, CA; and
- The Shining Star Foundation and Star Academy in San Rafael, CA
- Charter Schools
- Summit Public School in San Jose, CA (see San Jose Teacher Arrested for Alleged Sex with Student: Police – NBC Bay Area); and
- Spark Charter School in Sunnyvale, CA (see Negligence Alleged Against Spark Charter School, County in Sexual Assault of Student – NBC Bay Area)
- Private Youth Serving Organizations
- YMCA (see Morgan Hill: Victim’s family sues YMCA over former day care staffer charged with sex abuse – The Mercury News;
- Child Development Inc.;
- EMQ Families First, a group home in Santa Clara County (see Second Childhood Molestation Lawsuit Filed against EMQ FamiliesFirst – Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, LLP (childmolestationattorneys.com);
- Boy Scouts of America (see Suit accuses Boy Scouts of failing to prevent sexual abuse (mercurynews.com));
- School of Rock (see Palo Alto: School of Rock facing lawsuit over suspected sex crimes by former teacher (mercurynews.com);
- Church on the Hill, Christian Church in San Jose, CA (see San Jose: Lawsuit alleges Trace molest suspect was fired three times by former employer – The Mercury News);
- Go Kids, a private daycare center in Hollister, CA;
- Unity Care, Inc. (see Morgan Hill: Longtime youth mentor accused of sexually assaulting 17-year-old boy – The Mercury News).;
- New Life Church of Alamo in Danville, CA (see https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/01/15/san-ramon-high-school-alamo-church-reach-1-5-million-settlement-in-molestation-case/);
- San Andreas Regional Center;
- Parkway Community Church and Leaven Program, an after-school tutoring center in Fairfield, CA;
- Kindercare Learning Centers in Sacramento County;
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; and
- South Valley Dance Arts in Morgan Hill CA
J.D., University of San Francisco Law School, 1994
B.A., University of Notre Dame, 1991
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice California, 1995
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association
Consumer Attorneys of California, Board of Governors
Santa Clara County Bar Association
American Association for Justice
Honors and Awards
- California Attorney of the Year, 2013
- Santa Clara County Attorney of the Year, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2016
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, 2010-Present
- Rated by Super Lawyers, 2009-Present
- Award of Meritorious Service, Consumer Attorneys of California
- Martindale-Hubbell, AV-Preeminent Rating, 2009-Present