Sacramento Catholic High School is facing a lawsuit against the coach who sexually assaulted a student
A lawsuit alleges that administrators at a Catholic high school in Sacramento knew or should have known that a running coach was using his role as a trusted figure on campus to “set up” a student for child sexual assault.
The civil lawsuit was filed last week against St. Francis Catholic High School, a private girls’ school in East Sacramento. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a former St. Francis High School student, who was 15 years old in 2020 when she was sexually assaulted by her coach.
Aaron Daniel Rios was a track and cross country coach at St. Francis High School and also coached the Sac Elite Youth Running Club, which he founded.
Sacramento Police Department investigators arrested Rios In August 2020. He was convicted last year of sexually assaulting the girl. The 41-year-old former running coach is currently serving The maximum sentence is 16 years and 8 months at High Desert State Prison in Susanville.
St. Francis High School, Reus Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Sacramento They are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 11 in Sacramento Superior Court. The former student was identified in court documents as “Jane Doe.”
“Defendants, St. Francis and the Diocese, knew that sexual predators could groom children on and off the premises during school-related functions and that social media and technology were tools used for grooming,” the lawsuit filed. Diem Tran, Attorney at Berg Injury Lawyers Company represents teenager, reads in part.
The lawsuit alleges that Rios used an online training app called Final Surge to initiate communication with the girl “in a way that went beyond the coach-athlete relationship.” The plaintiff’s attorney said the online application was licensed by St. Francis, allowing Rios to communicate with student athletes.
The lawsuit says school officials had access to or received copies of messages sent via Final Surge and did not monitor those communications.
High-ranking officials at St. Francis said they were aware of the civil lawsuit against the school, but declined to respond to the allegations made by the plaintiff’s attorney.
“We cannot comment on pending litigation,” school officials said in a written statement sent to The Sacramento Bee. “Our prayers continue to be with all victims of sexual assault. While knowing that Aaron Rios is serving the maximum sentence for his crimes brings some closure, there is still a lot of healing to be done.
Rios first met the girl in 2018, when she was 13 and joined his youth running club, according to the website. Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. She was a senior at St. Francis High School in March 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions to prevent further spread of the disease shut down the high school running program and resulted in Sac Elite athletes running in smaller groups.
Prosecutors said Rios began running with the girl in training sessions, creating opportunities for him to be alone with her and gradually developing an inappropriate relationship with her.
The lawsuit alleges that coaches and administrators at St. Francis High School, including then-athletic director Mark McGreevey, determined that the student-athletes would continue training off-site, and Rios was authorized and directed to continue practicing with the running team through Sac Elite. Rios started his own running team in December 2018.
McGreevey, who is not listed as an accused, left his position as athletic director at St. Francis in 2022 and is now assistant athletic director at Sierra College, according to his LinkedIn page and Rocklin Community College’s online directory.
Prosecutors said Rios downloaded an app on the girl’s phone that deleted messages after receiving them because he wanted to delete “inappropriate messages” he would send her.
In July 2020, Rios kissed the teen on the mouth and told her it would be their “little secret,” according to the District Attorney’s Office. In another incident, prosecutors said, Rios grabbed the teen from behind and forcibly harassed her, before telling her not to say anything.
In an email to parents the week of Rios’ arrest, St. Francis High School administrators said school officials received a “report of inappropriate contact” involving Rios and a student during the previous weekend, and forwarded that information to law enforcement. Rios had resigned from his position as the school’s track and cross country coach the previous week. He has been working at the school as a coach since 2017.
The jury found on November 15 Rios pleaded guilty to six counts of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a 15-year-old, one count of forcible digital penetration of a minor and one count of sexual battery by restraint. He was sentenced to prison in January.
In the civil suit, the plaintiff’s attorney argues that St. Francis High School and officials at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento knew or should have known that the running coach “engaged in inappropriate, intimate, and overtly sexual conduct” toward the girl, which St. Francis students and volunteers observed And parents, coaches and staff.
The lawsuit alleges that students and parents complained about inappropriate behavior by school employees and representatives. Plaintiff’s attorneys also allege that St. Francis High School and diocese officials “were negligent in failing to reasonably supervise, train, and control Rios.”
the The diocese admitted earlier this year that it was facing financial insolvency after filing more than 200 lawsuits. Allegations of sexual abuse of minors.