Sports

/

ArcaMax

Ex-NFL player Shareece Wright alleges sexual abuse by high school trainer who was coach's daughter

Chuck Schilken, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

LOS ANGELES — Shareece Wright says he has mainly fond memories from his four years at Colton High School, except for whenever he was alone with a female athletic trainer who happened to be the head football coach's daughter.

Wright alleges in a lawsuit that she began to groom him in 2002, when Wright was a 15-year-old freshman on the team and the trainer was 21, and eventually sexually abused him at school and at his coach's home.

Wright, a former USC and NFL cornerback, is one of nine plaintiffs who have alleged that they were sexually abused by athletic trainer Tiffany Strauss-Gordon while they were minors playing for her father Harold Strauss' Colton High football team during the 2000s. The allegations have been made in two lawsuits filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court.

Wright was one of six plaintiffs in the first such lawsuit, which was filed in September 2022. Although he and the other plaintiffs in both were listed as John Does, Wright recently became the first of them to publicly reveal his identity.

"I was reading about how often this happens to kids and how much is so swept under the rug and how much people don't come out and talk about it," said Wright, 36, who's the father of two boys, ages 10 and 2. "And I was just going through these different emotions and I just felt like I wanted to do more to help. ... And I feel like I was in a position to be able to and I have a platform to be able to do that, to shine a light on it. And I just felt like if I didn't say this and I didn't come out then I'm kind of doing the same thing that everybody else is doing and I'm not helping the cause."

The lawsuits, which name Strauss-Gordon and the Colton Joint Unified School District as co-defendants, allege that Strauss-Gordon "took advantage of her position of influence, authority, and power — given to her by CJUSD — to develop the players' trust and then to sexually assault, harass, and molest them."

 

"These were male football players, they were recruited, they were largely African American and they were from vulnerable households," said attorney Morgan Stewart, who represents Wright and six other plaintiffs in the lawsuits. "So you've got that mixture of basically a school district using these kids for their own benefit and acting like they're not responsible for anything that occurred to them."

Strauss-Gordon has denied all the allegations against her in multiple court filings and during a 2022 police interview, as seen in a video published by ESPN. Strauss-Gordon's attorney, Daniel Kolodziej, also maintained his client's innocence in an email to The Los Angeles Times.

"Ms. Gordon denies these old allegations, already investigated and presumably rejected by law enforcement personnel, and will continue to vigorously defend the joined lawsuits to achieve a favorable disposition," Kolodziej wrote. "The court of public opinion will not decide that outcome, but she appreciates the ongoing support from those who recognize her dedication to and substantial positive contributions to the Colton High School community."

Strauss-Gordon was athletic director at Grand Terrace High when the first lawsuit was filed. The Colton Joint Unified School District told The Times in an email that Strauss-Gordon is currently suspended without pay pending the outcome of her discipline case.

...continued

swipe to next page

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus