Volleyball coach Rick Butler hit with class-action lawsuit amid allegations

Volleyball coach Rick Butler, who has been the subject of a multiyear investigation by the AAU into sexual abuse allegations, has now been hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging deception and abuse.

The Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday was the first to report that Laura Mullen filed the lawsuit against Butler, his wife Cheryl and his Chicago-based Sports Performance Volleyball program. The lawsuit alleges Butler "used his position of power to sexually abuse no fewer than six underage teenage girls."

Earlier this month, Butler's membership in the AAU was voided and he was "permanently disqualified" from participating in AAU activities. He also was permanently banned by USA Volleyball in January and indefinitely banned by the Junior Volleyball Association in February.

Butler allegedly had sexual contact with underage girls, including two accusations that were made as part of a Chicago Sun-Times investigation published in November. He has also been accused of abusive coaching methods and deceiving parents.

In 1995, USA Volleyball banned Butler from coaching girls after an ethics panel found he had sexual relationships with three underage girls, though the ban was partially lifted in 2000. He was permanently banned in January following the Sun-Times report.

Butler had been considered the most powerful coach in youth volleyball, with his Chicago-based Sports Performance Volleyball program regularly turning out college-level players.

ESPN's Outside the Lines reported in 2015 on accusations against Butler and the efforts to have the AAU and USA Volleyball terminate his role.