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BOUNTIFUL – The family of two Bountiful High students is suing head volleyball coach Lane Herrick, as well as assistant coach Joel Burton and the Davis School District, alleging assault and battery.

The complaint, which was filed on Friday in 2nd District Court by Clair and Jill Asay, details two separate incidents, both of which allegedly occurred this season. The Asays have two daughters on this year’s varsity team – McCall Asay, a 6-foot-2 senior outside hitter and Sydney Asay, a junior outside hitter.

Mother Jill Asay is also an assistant volleyball coach at the school, but Davis District spokesman Christopher Williams said she hasn’t been at practice or worked with the team since Aug. 31.

The complaint also alleges a pattern of inappropriate and abusive behavior.

“Herrick has engaged in the past in verbal assault on minor McCall Asay and physical battery upon her,” the complaint states. “For example, he routinely grabbed the front of her shirt and pulled her outside the gym, where he would yell, ‘You suck.’ He also in the past asked her at what age she started her menstrual cycle.”

The first incident allegedly occurred on Aug. 28. The complaint says Herrick asked the team to fill out a packet of information on how the coaching staff could improve.

“Defendant Herrick instructed the team to ‘be completely honest’ and that he wanted to receive honest opinions, regardless of the opinions the players held,” the complaint states.

McCall filled out the packet, “then handed the packet to her sister, minor Sydney Asay, to read over and make sure nothing offensive was contained in the packet.” McCall then gave the paper to Herrick “and put her name on it.”

On Aug. 31, Herrick told the girls’ mother that he was upset about what McCall had written about the staff. Herrick called the girl into his office.

“Minor McCall Asay was hesitant to go in, but defendant Herrick stood behind her and guided her in and closed the office door,” the complaint says. McCall said she was uncomfortable with the door being closed, even though Burton, who is also the school’s head basketball coach, followed them into the room.

The complaint alleges that Herrick berated McCall for what she’d written and then asked if she regretted it. When she said she did not, the suit claims Herrick “lost all control and started yelling at” the player and “physically advanced toward her” as she feared for her safety.

“Herrick continued yelling … that she would lose her varsity position and that a sophomore would be playing in her place,” the complaint says. When Herrick allegedly moved toward Asay, she ran from the room sobbing and took refuge in a restroom, where several of her teammates comforted her.

The complaint also alleges that while other players were helping McCall, her sister Sydney entered the area and Herrick “physically grabbed” her.

“Sydney Asay pushed him away and said, ‘Don’t you touch me,’ ” according to the complaint. Herrick then allegedly ordered the players comforting McCall to “get back in the gym.”

Jill Asay later asked Burton if Herrick had “crossed the line and became abusive to her daughters, (and) defendant Burton verified that indeed he had crossed the line.”

The second incident occurred on Sept. 2, just two days before the suit was filed. McCall was hurt when a ball rolled under her feet while she was jump serving and none of the coaches came to her aid as she was crying and lying on the floor in pain, the suit claims.

The complaint also says the district has a duty to deal with this kind of behavior and that officials have ignored complaints from parents about verbal and emotional abuse for years.

Williams said Bountiful High Principal Gregory Wilkey is conducting an investigation. “The principal is still looking into it,” Williams said. “There are still a couple of people he needs to interview … but coaches are still coaching and have not been placed on leave at this time.”

Attorney Gage Herbst represents the family in the suit and said there have been a number of complaints, some in writing, about Herrick. He said the Asays did report their concerns to administrators and only chose to sue as a last resort.

“It’s unfortunate it had to get to the point of a lawsuit,” Herbst said. “Truthfully he has no place working with high school age students. … As a coach, he acted inappropriate and abusively.”

Email: adonaldson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: adonsports

 

Categories: Education, Featured, On Blast

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