San Jose Jr Sharks Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

SAN JOSE, CA --- March 7, 2024 --- The law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard has filed a lawsuit alleging that a San Jose Jr. Sharks hockey player was sexually abused due to the negligence of Sharks Sports & Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiary, Sharks Ice, LLC. Sharks Sports and Entertainment is a privately held company that owns the San Jose Sharks and several sports-related properties throughout the Bay Area.

The lawsuit states that former San Jose Jr. Sharks hockey coach Kevin Whitmer began grooming John Doe in April of 2021, and thereafter sexually assaulted him numerous times when he was 12 years old. Whitmer, the lawsuit claims, would take the young victim alone into the locker room at Sharks Ice, the ice-skating facility and the official training facility of the NHL's San Jose Sharks. After almost every lesson, Whitmer would instruct John Doe to sit on his lap, wrap his hands around his waist and massage his chest and abdomen. This progressed, according to the lawsuit, to Whitmer performing sexual acts on him while they were alone in the locker room.

The lawsuit alleges Sharks Ice and Sharks Sports & Entertainment were notified several times by a program supervisor at Sharks Ice about Whitmer breaking the locker room rules but no action was taken by either organization. The program supervisor was terminated for unknown reasons.

Jr. Sharks are a member of USA Hockey, the national governing body for competitive hockey in the United States. As a member, Jr. Sharks abide by the rules and regulations set forth by USA Hockey, including rules to protect young players from sexual abuse. According to USA Hockey policy, “Any individual meetings between a minor participant and a coach or other adult in a locker room shall require that a second responsible adult is present.” In this case, Whitmer was alone with the victim.

Sharks Ice and Sharks Sports & Entertainment failed to implement and/or enforce USA Hockey’s locker room and electronic communication policies according to the lawsuit.  On the contrary states the lawsuit, Sharks Ice and Sharks Sports & Entertainment enabled a toxic culture wherein coaches could freely use the locker rooms to inappropriately isolate their minor players, and could freely engage in one-on-one electronic communications with them without supervision. 

The lawsuit also alleges Whitmer openly engaged in highly inappropriate and sexual behavior with his minor athletes, and was referred to as a “pedo”, meaning pedophile, by one or more of the Jr. Sharks players. Parents of Jr. Sharks players noted Whitmer exhibited strange behavior and made them uncomfortable, states the lawsuit.

It is claimed in the lawsuit that Sharks Sports and Entertainment partnered with Sharks Ice to oversee the operations of the Jr. Sharks and starting in 2017, also employed Whitmer as a Head Coach, Private Skills Instructor and Player Development Coach for nearly six years.  


For more on the Jr. Sharks sexual abuse lawsuit, read these articles:

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