TAMPA (CN) – A Youth Soccer coach took his team to a whorehouse in Amsterdam, “pressured” them into having sex with prostitutes, and sexually molested one of his players in the United States, the player claims. The John Doe plaintiff sued the Florida Youth Soccer Association and Black Watch Soccer Club in Hillsborough County Court.
Doe claims the molestation and whorehouse visit came in 2003-04 when he played for the 14-and-under Black Watch Soccer Club, which has been dissolved.
He claims assistant coach William Burton molested him, and head coach Rocco Pecora and assistant coach Timothy King were entrusted, with Burton, with care of the team on their road trips.
None of the men are named as individual defendants.
Doe says the Burton “personally provided substantial financial support for the team, and was its primary benefactor.” He claims that “Burton typically arranged to share a hotel room himself with boys at overnight travel tournaments,” and that that “was highly suspicious and should have raised red flags for FYSA and BWSC.”
He claims that on trips to tournaments in Texas, “Burton creeped over to where John Doe was sleeping and touched him on his back and legs. This occurred in multiple incidents. In the last incident, Burton purposely touched John Doe on his genitalia.” Doe says he was 13 at the time.
He claims that “Burton also purchased a pornographic movie for the television in his hotel room, and had substantially all of the boys on the U14 team watch the movie in his room.”
In July 2004, Doe says, the team took to a trip to Germany and Amsterdam.
“During this trip, the coaches on the U14 team took the underage boys, including John Doe, to the infamous ‘Red Light District’ in Amsterdam, where boys on the team were pressured into engaging in inappropriate conduct, including without limitation, engaging in sex acts with prostitutes. John Doe at that time was pressured into entering a brothel and engaging in a sexual act with a prostitute. Boys on the team were also pressured into drinking alcohol on the trip.”
Doe says that before this trip, Burton had “groomed a boy” on the team, taken him to live with him in his home, and “sexually abused this boy.” He says the defendant organizations knew or should have known about this.
Doe said he did not tell his parents about Burton, nor did he immediately realize how badly he had been affected by the coach. He adds that because his father was a member of the soccer club’s board – and therefore a registered member of the Florida Youth Soccer Association – he felt he could turn to his parents, believing they had “a conflict of interest which adversely affected their ability and willingness” to pursue a case against the defendants.
Doe seeks costs and damages for negligence, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
He is represented by Stuart Mermelstein and Adam Horowitz with Mermelstein & Horowitz of Miami.