CHICAGO (WBBM) -- More men are coming forward to accuse a well-known youth hockey coach of grooming them for sexual abuse when they were just teenagers.
As CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini reported Wednesday night, the claims date back to the 1980s, and paint a picture of predatory behavior the men say could have – and should have – been stopped.
“He knew my father passed away, and the second he stepped into my house, he had a plan,” said Brent Cary.
Cary was a rising young hockey star in Illinois, and is the latest of several men to come forward accusing hockey coach Tom “Chico” Adrahtas of preying on them in their teens. Adrahtas last coached at Robert Morris University.
Adrahtas resigned in 2018, and last June, he was permanently banned from coaching by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Now, decades of abuse allegations are surfacing from players he coached in local youth hockey leagues in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
“He’s the ultimate predator,” Cary said.
Cary was a minor when he says the coach got permission to have the teen sleep at his house.
Savini: “To get that close to you, you’re saying he had to gain your mother’s trust?”
Savini: “He would actually tell your mother that he loved you?”
Savini: “And, ‘I’m going to take care of your son?’”
Cary: “Mm hmm.”
Savini: “‘He’ll be safe with me?’”
Cary: “Mm hmm.”
Then, Cary said, came the attempts to sexually abuse him.
Savini: “You’re saying he’s your coach, you were 17 – he’s showing you porn?”
Cary: “Yes, magazines.”
Savini: “And he’s asking you to put a blindfold on and tie your arms up?”
Cary: “Yes. Three times.”
But each time, Cary says he refused and escaped it. He is now relieved, but hurt, after hearing what happened to some other former players.
The players with whom Savini spoke for our story Tuesday night did not know each other. They played during different years, on different teams – but all say they too were groomed and sexually abused by Adrahtas.
Mike Sacks said his abuse started at a home on this quiet street in Lisle when he was 16. It was 1984, and at the time, Adrahtas held sleepovers for handpicked players.
Savini: “Do you remember the blindfold?”
Sacks said the blindfold involved was a pillowcase.
Kelly Gee said the same thing happened to him.
“The leather belt on the ankles and stuff like that, got tighter and tighter,” Gee said.
And Chris Jensen too.
“And then he takes me up and he blindfolds me,” Jensen said.
They say Adrahtas pressured them to allow a woman the coach called Sheila to perform sex acts on them.
“He made it very much sound like a boys’ club kind of thing – like it’s kind of the inner circle,” Gee said.
“The same playbook – it’s the same playbook – the threatening; you know, told me, ‘I’ve done enough for you; this is the least you can do for me,’” Sacks said.
All of them now believe “Sheila” was really the coach.
“It’s crappy what he did to me,” Cary said. “But taking advantage of my mom in the emotional state that she was in, and getting; building up her trust to allow him to take advantage of me – that’s the hardest part for me right now.”
Another player is also coming forward – Benjamin Cole. He said he was molested two years after the attempt on Cary.
The men plan on taking legal action against any of the organizations that could have stopped the coach, but didn’t.
“We have factual basis for our allegations. We can prove our case,” said attorney Lee Jacobson. “There will be justice for these people.”
Attorneys Jacobson and Nick Economakos will be filing a lawsuit against the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI), USA Hockey, and the University of Minnesota – accusing them of failing to investigate or report sexual abuse allegations to police.
“They’ve held literally zero other people responsible for allowing Chico Adrahtas to continue 40 years of sexual assault,” Economakos said.
The University of Minnesota admits failing to investigate allegations of sexual abuse when Adrahtas coached there – which allowed Adrhatas to return to Illinois and coach other youth hockey teams.
“I let him go,” said Ira Greenberg. “I fired him.”
Greenberg, a businessman who founded the Chicago Young Americans and hired Adrahtas, discovered a team member was sleeping at Adrahtas’ house.
Greenberg and his son-in-law, Bobby Scott, are still impacted by their talk with the teen back then.
“Watching that kid look at Ira and say: ‘I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you,’ deeply affected me as a person,” Scott said. “But to see the kid and look in his eyes, and how hurt he was, is an image that is etched in my mind.”
Greenberg added, “I mean, I let him go and I told everybody I let him go, and I told everybody why.”
Greenberg said he informed leaders at AHAI, but no one investigated it further. Had they, they might have found out about Cary – who was also on that same team.
“There were adults that knew what he was doing,” Sacks said, “and they allowed it. They looked the other way.”
And so Adrahtas kept coaching. He was then accused of abusing Cole a year later in 1990, and then Gee in 1999.
Gee said he was just 17, living in his car, when he met Adrahtas.
“I guess I was just desperate, you know, and stupid,” Gee said.
He says he the coach exploited his vulnerabilities including being alone and broke – then abused him and offered Gee money to videotape him.
Savini: “He asked you to perform acts on camera?”
Gee: “That’s right.”
Savini: “And he would give you money?”
Savini: “Did you have any idea he was going to do with it?”
Gee: “I know what he told me. He told me that he had a friend in the porn industry that used the videos.”
Gee said this all took an enormous toll on his mental health to the point of being suicidal.
“I could not stand to take another breath,” Gee said.
Then, Sacks heard about Gee and showed up at his home to provide support.
“Had he not shown up when he did, things would be very different right now,” Gee said, “and I think you saved my life.”
Sacks knew Gee’s pain. He had suffered the same.
“The silence almost killed me, Dave,” Sacks told Savini. “I tried to, I mean, the suicide thoughts – it’s real. It’s real.”
Sacks and Gee have created a foundation to help other sexual abuse survivors.
AHAI and USA Hockey say they reported the coach to the proper authorities.
Adrahtas, now living in Florida, denies the allegations and says he never had non-consensual sex with anyone.
We are told a federal lawsuit is being filed against the University of Minnesota, AHAI, and USA Hockey tomorrow morning on the behalf of the coach’s accusers.