Track star files sex assault lawsuit against Bay Area high schools

Bay Area

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KRON) — A lawsuit filed Thursday accuses Los Gatos and Archbishop Mitty high schools of negligence after a former Hall of Fame athlete was allegedly sexually abused for years by her track coach.

Track star and former FOX Sports reporter Heather Hennessy said Chioke “Chee” Robinson sexually abused her and multiple other athletes.

Robinson was arrested by San Jose police two years ago and he remains out of custody on bail.

Hennessy said the abuse began when she was a freshman at Mitty, a school well known for being a powerhouse in high school sports.

To get away from Robinson, Hennessy said she transferred to Los Gatos High School.

But Robinson followed her and he was hired by Los Gatos as an assistant coach.

When she alerted the track team’s head coach that Robinson was stalking her, he told her to run on the other side of the track and not worry about her fears, according to her attorney, Stephen Estey.

“Rather than looking into why she was afraid of this man, he just told her to run on the other side of the track,” Estey said.

Hennessy set national records in the 800-meter sprint while she was a student at Los Gatos High in the late 1990’s.

Despite her high performance on the track, Hennessy said her memories from that time are traumatizing.

When she was invited to a ceremony at the school for being inducted into its Hall of Fame, she declined to go because the campus was too haunting for her to return to.

During Thursday’s press conference, Hennessy said she is coming forward now because she was inspired by a campaign launched by current Los Gatos High students giving sexual assault survivors a social media platform to speak out.

The campaign’s Instagram page has received reports from at least 100 students who were sexually abused.

“I want it to stop now. These schools and coaches need to take the protection of children, students, athletes serious. I want the culture of sports in these schools to know my story so they do what’s right. I pray that all adults watching this know that kids’ bodies are off-limits,” Hennessy said.

The Diocese of San Jose released the following statement:

While the Diocese of San José and Archbishop Mitty High School have not been served with the
complaint against Archbishop Mitty High School, we take all and any allegations of abuse seriously and remain resolute in our support for victim-survivors, irrespective of the dates of abuse. We welcome the opportunity to review the complaint, but we are not able to otherwise comment on the litigation at this time.

Archbishop Mitty faculty and staff receive child abuse and neglect awareness training as mandated reporters and are aware of their mandatory reporting requirements regarding allegations of child abuse and sexual misconduct.

The Diocese of San José continues to encourage any victim-survivor to come forward and report
incidents of improper conduct either historically or currently occurring at any diocesan institution by taking the following steps: First, contact their local civil authorities. Then, once a report is filed with the local civil authorities, the individuals are encouraged to contact the Diocese’s Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults at 408-983-0113. Reports to the Diocese are also accepted by a secure third-party reporting service at opcva.ethicspoint.com or call 844-372-1691. Please know that all reports made with the Diocese are handled with the utmost care and confidentially, to the greatest extent possible, intended to protect the rights of the victim-survivor.

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