Former South Bend St. Joseph HS volleyball coach accused of sexual misconduct

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The ball is now in the court’s court.

A civil lawsuit alleges sexual misconduct on the part of a former high school volleyball coach.

The suit calls into question a “toxic culture” created by Justin Cochran, the girls coach at St. Joseph High School in 2018-2019.

The plaintiffs are three former players who have since graduated. The suit refers to them as Jane Does one, two, and three.

The allegations are serious and numerous—the lawsuit itself is 40-pages long.

The alleged sexual misconduct includes the coach sending a picture of his genitalia to one of the plaintiffs via SnapChat.

The suit also alleges that Cochran told another player to open his phone to play music at practice. When she did, pornography automatically came on.

In general, the suit alleges that players who were not receptive to the coach’s flirting—were afraid they wouldn’t play.

In a July 2018 meeting with the coach, the suit contends that parents complained about his boundary issues to which Cochran replied: “The age of consent in Indiana is 16.’

When parents asked him to stop glamorizing drinking and partying, Cochran allegedly said he “likes to treat the teenage girls as his equal to keep things fun and light.”

The suit contends that some players bragged about meeting Cochran socially outside of volleyball without parent involvement, even late at night or at a Notre Dame football tailgate.

According to court documents, when the plaintiffs complained they suffered retaliation like harassment and bullying.

Parents later discovered that Cochran had been driving the team bus to away games with a suspended driver’s license.

The suit contends that the complaints were never investigated by school administrators, nor the diocese and that Cochran was allowed to resign at the end of the 2018-2019 season.

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