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Friday, May 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Athlete Says Ariz. Track Coach Molested Her

TUCSON (CN) - A University of Arizona track coach sexually assaulted an athlete for years and attacked her with a box cutter, threatening to "cut her eyes out and kill her family," she claims in court.

Jane Doe sued Arizona, the University of Arizona, its assistant track coach Craig Carter - who has resigned, head track coach Fred Harvey, and its athletics director Greg Byrne, on Nov. 20 Pima County Court.

Doe says she competed for the university from 2010 to 2015 and was "subjected to repeated sexual assaults" by Carter.

"Carter committed acts of rape, assault, inappropriate sexual conduct and abuse," Doe says in the complaint.

Carter, an assistant throwing coach on the track and field team, sexually assaulted her the first time while she was drunk in a car on a team trip to Oregon in 2013, she says.

She says she was unable to stop Carter, and that he threatened her, "saying he would tell everyone it was her fault, that she was a slut, and that he would harm her if she told anyone."

The threats and assaults continued, she says, and Carter's abuse "included threats of physical violence towards her, her family, and her friends, as well as threats to destroy her student life and career as an athlete."

Doe says that when she confronted Carter and rejected his demands in spring this year, he "imprisoned plaintiff in his office, held a box cutter to her throat, and threatened to kill her if she revealed his misconduct."

"Carter told plaintiff he was going to cut her eyes out and kill her family," the complaint states.

Among the abuses to which Carter subjected her, Doe says, was that "Carter stalked plaintiff and sent multiple threatening emails to plaintiff, including threats to mutilate her body, rape her mother, kill her mother and father, and hurt her friends."

In April 27 email, Doe says, Carter threatened to track down her grandmother and sexually assault her. She claims that Carter attacked her in a classroom in front of witnesses on April 29, and admitted to police that he had assaulted her with the cutter and sent the "horrific" emails.

Carter was charged with numerous criminal offenses, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, stalking, and interference with or disruption of an educational institution, Tucson news outlets reported in May. He resigned.

Doe says she "lived in constant fear, and suffered terrible emotional injuries" from his attacks, and that her academic and athletic careers were severely damaged

"As a coach, Carter had dominating influence of plaintiff," the lawsuit states. "He had the power to make or break her sought-after career as an elite athlete."

Carter forced her to lift weights that were "far too heavy" and did not provide or allow her a spotter, she says, and she suffered serious back injury as a result. Doe says she tried to leave the program in 2014.

She says defendant Harvey, the head coach, refused her transfer request.

"Harvey told plaintiff that Carter was hard on everyone, that everyone complained about him, and that she should put up with his behaviors," the lawsuit states.

Doe's attorney Lynne Cadigan told Courthouse News that she welcomed additional outside information.

"Anyone with any information about Craig Carter or any other abusive coach should come forward," Cadigan said.

Carter's counsel in criminal proceedings, Nathan Leonardo, said his client "has not been charged with any crime related to sexual assault and that's because the evidence wouldn't support it."

Leonardo declined further comment.

Doe seeks punitive damages for assault and battery, negligence, emotional distress, and vicarious liability.

She is represented by Cadigan and Michael Bloom of Tucson.

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