Three men sue Hart District, former basketball coach over childhood sexual abuse

Jeremy Haggerty

Three victims of Jeremy Haggerty, the ex-Hart District basketball coach who is serving nine years in prison for lewd acts upon children and sexual battery, are now suing the former coach  and his former employer, the William S. Hart Union High School District. 

In the complaint filed Aug. 19, the three victims allege they suffered personal injuries and damages due to their childhood sexual abuse at the hands of Haggerty. 

The complaint states that while Haggerty has already accepted a plea deal regarding nine criminal charges against multiple victims, the Hart District was responsible for the “administration, maintenance, operation and oversight of Canyon High School” and its other  school campuses where Haggerty coached — therefore, making them liable. 

Haggerty worked as a basketball coach at several schools, including Canyon High and Valencia High, among others. 

The interactions and grooming for the attacks began for the boys as early as their 8th and 9th grade years, when Haggerty worked as their assistant coach during the training camps for the Canyon High basketball team, the complaint alleges. 

All three victims are being represented by the same law firm, Taylor & Ring out of Manhattan Beach. 

Haggerty regularly had access to one-on-one time with all three defendants and was responsible for “wrapping” the athletes, when he would tape up ankles and other joints for support and treatment before a game or practice. 

Much of the grooming and attacks on the boys happened across multiple years within the Canyon High basketball program, the complaint states. 

“This (the wrapping would) most often occur in the coaches’ room, which was a separate room in the boys’ locker room,” reads the complaint, which also adds that there was little supervision in the room and the door to the wrapping room was often closed. “On at least one occasion, (Haggerty) sexually assaulted (the victims) in the coaches’ room at Canyon High School, by touching his (genitals).”

Haggerty also used “massages” as a way to attack the boys, touching their genitals and having sexually explicit conversations with them throughout, the complaint reads. 

The complaint states that Chad Phillips, the Canyon High School basketball coach at the time, was aware of Haggerty’s previous arrest, and that he was “alone unsupervised with the players on the team on multiple occasions.” 

“Chad Phillips and other assistant coaches on the team knew about these workouts but did nothing to stop them, even though they took place on campus after hours with no supervision,” the complaint states.

Phillips is not a named defendant in the lawsuit. 

The complaint also argues that the school district and its employees “engaged in a concerted effort to cover up the sexual abuse” of the children. 

Hart district officials said they would not be commenting on the civil lawsuit, citing it as an ongoing legal matter.

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