SANTA CLARITA – Four men who alleged they were molested as teens by a former Santa Clarita-area basketball coach reached a settlement with the William S. Hart Union High School District.
The plaintiffs are identified only as John Doe 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the consolidated Chatsworth Superior Court complaint that was originally brought in separate suits in 2019 and 2020 against the district and Jeremy Haggerty, a former assistant varsity coach at Canyon High School.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a notice of settlement Wednesday, Jan. 26, with Judge Melvin D. Sandvig. No terms were divulged.
In their court papers, defense attorneys stated that the school district administration had no “constructive notice that Haggerty had the propensity to (sexually) abuse minors.” The defense lawyers also maintained that the plaintiffs did not discuss Haggerty’s alleged actions with anyone until 2018, years after they graduated, and that during Haggerty’s employment at Canyon High School, no one complained about him inappropriately touching students.
Haggerty, now 38, was sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2019 to nine years in prison for sexually assaulting nine teenage boys who played for or had private training sessions with him. He pleaded no contest in May 2019 to six counts of lewd acts on a child and three counts of sexual battery, all felonies.
The plaintiffs alleged the Canyon High head coach and an assistant coach knew that Haggerty spent time alone with players in the coaches’ room with no supervision and that the head coach also knew that Haggerty had a prior conviction for assault on a peace officer, but never told the players or their parents.
All of the plaintiffs are now in their mid- to late-20s. Doe 1 alleges Haggerty inappropriately touched him during the plaintiff’s freshman, sophomore and junior years at Canyon High School by performing massages under the guise of physical therapy and training. Haggerty was fired during Doe 1’s senior year, according to the suit.
Doe 2 met Haggerty when the plaintiff was in the eighth grade, the suit states. Doe 2’s parents allowed him to train with Haggerty because the coach previously played for then-Canyon High School head coach Chad Phillips and the couple hoped Haggerty would improve their son’s chances of playing varsity basketball at Canyon High, the suit stated. After Doe 2 became a freshman at Canyon High, Haggerty allegedly began having sexually oriented conversations with him. Haggerty sexually assaulted Doe 2 in the coaches’ room at Canyon High by inappropriately touching him and also massaged the teen after workouts at the high school gym, according to the suit. Haggerty also sexually abused the teen at the coach’s home after convincing the teen he needed “body maintenance,” the suit alleges. After janitors complained about Haggerty being in the gym with students at night, the coach’s key was taken away, according to the suit.
John Doe 3 met Haggerty the summer before his freshman year at Canyon High School during camps, the suit stated. Haggerty sexually assaulted Doe 3 at the coach’s home and told the teen he had a background in sex education, the suit alleged.
John Doe 4 met Haggerty as a freshman at Canyon High and also maintains he was subjected to “body maintenance” by Haggerty after workouts and that the coach inappropriately touched him and subjected him to improper conversations given the plaintiff’s age at the time.
Haggerty, who also was the team’s athletic trainer, also abused Doe 4 and other players by inappropriately touching them while wrapping painful limbs after workouts, the suit alleged.