A group of female water polo players were awarded 13.85 million in a sexual abuse lawsuit against USA Water Polo and a California club for failing to protect them from abuse by Coach Bahram Hojreh from 2012 to 2017. The lawsuit was filed in Orange county superior court against USA Water Polo and International Water Polo Club the insurer for both the organizations will be responsible for paying the settlement amount.
Christopher Ramsey, CEO of USA Water Polo stated that “We have heard the plaintiff’s testimony, and their allegations are heartbreaking. We hope that this allows them to begin a new chapter in their lives.”
45 year old Coach Hojreh has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of sexual abuse. As per the allegations he sexually abused 10 victims out of which 9 were children at the time of the acts. According to the prosecutors, the abuse allegedly occurred during the children’s one-on-one coaching sessions.
The charges filed against Hojreh included lewd acts on a child, sexual penetration with a foreign object and sexual battery by fraud. The victims alleged they were not aware they were being molested as the coach told them that touching served a professional purpose. The lawsuit against USA Water Polo stated that the organization was negligent and failed to take action against reports filed in the summer of 2017 that Hojreh’s players at the International club had sexually abused opponents during matches.
He was allowed to get away with abuse for more than eight months before any action was taken.
As per a report filed by the Orange County Register, girls playing on the opposing teams had emerged from the pool accusing Hojreh’s swimmers of trying to grab and penetrate their genitals underwater. It was reported that in one match, another coach accused Hojreh of teaching the tactic to his players. A fight occurred at the deck with angry parents yelling and threatening each other.
USA Water Polo has stated in the filing that they had forwarded those complaints from June and July 2017 to the US Center for SafeSport that was formed in 2017 to handle sexual abuse cases in the Olympic realm.
USA Water Polo claims that at that point it had not received complaints against Hojreh for sexually abusing his players. He was suspended from the organization after they received reports of alleged abuse in January 2018 from SafeSport.
A permanent ban has been placed on Hojreh by SafeSport. He’s one of 10 people associated with USA Water Polo who have been banned from the sport since 2018 due to criminal matters.
Hojreh’s lawyer stated that his client has worked with hundreds of children over two decades and never had a blemish on his record. In his career as a coach, Hojreh has coached and developed “multiple Olympians.” Until 2018, he was also on the board of directors for the Southern California chapter of USA Water Polo.
Victims of sexual abuse have to cope with a lot of emotional and mental suffering along with the physical injuries caused by their abuser. While criminal proceedings may or may not punish the abuser, by hiring a California sexual abuse lawyer you can file a civil claim against the abuser and any other person or entity like community organizations or religious institution who failed to take action and overlooked the signs and allowed the abuse to occur.
At Khashan Law Firm, our team of professional sexual abuse attorneys are not afraid to stand up against any institution, whether it is a school district, religious institution or any other powerful institution. We have represented several victims of sexual abuse in California. Contact us today at 951.461.2387 to set up a free and confidential consultation.