Alleging repeated sexual assault, Nebraska woman files suit against former high school golf coach

November 27, 2017

A Nebraska woman has filed a lawsuit against her former high school golf coach, alleging the coach sexually assaulted her, according to the Scottsbluff Star Herald.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe in the suit, is filing suit against the well-known coach, 62-year-old Michael Klein, as well as the Scottsbluff School District and the Scotts Bluff Country Club.

On Nov. 17, just days before the suit was filed, Klein was convicted of sexually abusing Doe and one other former student during his time as coach and sentenced to 24 to 32 years in prison on four counts of first-degree sexual assault. Klein had pleaded no contest to those charges.

The new lawsuit, filed Nov. 22 in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, seeks monetary damages and punitive damages. The woman is seeking a jury trial in the case.

The woman, who says she was 14 to 17 years old when the abuse occurred, alleges that Klein developed a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship with her soon after she joined the high school golf team in 2007. The first time Klein made sexual contact with her was at Scotts Bluff Country Club, where he was a golf pro and held practices for the high school team. The woman was also employed by the club, where Klein was her supervisor. The woman alleges that Klein assaulted her repeatedly at Scotts Bluff, at another facility used by the team, and would also pick her up at lunch and assault her at his home.

The criminal trial against Klein garnered significant local attention in western Nebraska, where the coach is a high-profile figure. Klein played on the PGA Tour in 1980-81 and in recent decades has coached a series of high school teams to state championships. He was inducted into the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame in 2014 alongside PGA Tour player Mark Calcavecchia and had served as the Scottsbluff High school girls’ coach since 2003 and the boys’ since 2010.

“Everyone talks of all the good he has done,” Scotts Bluff County District Attorney Dave Eubanks told the Star Herald after Klein’s conviction. “All the damage he has done far outweighs the good that he has done.”

The woman alleges that the institutions involved failed to investigate allegations that Klein was involved in an improper relationship. She alleged the school district had shown “deliberate indifference” of the sexual abuse and that the club had been negligent in failing to investigate allegations about Klein’s involvement in an improper relationship. Under his original conviction, Klein will serve a minimum of 12 years and will be eligible for mandatory release at 16 years. For more on the lawsuit, you can find the original report here.