MADISON, Wis. (AP) — It is too late for a woman to sue the sports organization that employed a basketball coach who repeatedly sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Wednesday.
The 4-3 decision from the court’s conservative majority overturns a lower court ruling that said the lawsuit was allowed under state laws that give victims of child sexual assault until they are 35 years old to sue their abusers or a religious institution if their abuser was a clergy member.
The woman who brought the lawsuit was one of two 13-year-old girls that Shelton Kingcade sexually assaulted while he coached girls basketball for the Amateur Athletic Union at a Madison high school. Kingcade was sentenced in 2016 to 13 years in prison.
The woman alleged that the Amateur Athletic Union had negligently hired and supervised Kingcade. She sued the group in 2019, just before turning 35, but her lawsuit was tossed from federal court and then revived in circuit court. Dane County Judge Rhonda Lanford initially dismissed the case, saying the woman had only until she turned 20 to sue the athletic union for negligence after the assault.
An appeals court overturned that decision in July, but the Supreme Court reinstated Lanford’s ruling because the woman wasn’t suing a religious organization or the person who abused her.