An attorney representing one of three underaged girls who were victims of illicit sex acts committed by a former junior varsity girls basketball coach has filed suit against the coach, an assistant coach and Mesa Public Schools.
Attorney Dan Raynak accuses the coaches and the school district of various types of wrongdoing in the federal suit stemming from illicit sex acts involving Kyler Ashley, 24, and two 17-year-old members of the team he then coached at Dobson High School.
Ashley earlier this month pleaded guilty to charges resulting from his arrest in May after he attempted to make arrangements to have sex with a third girl, who was 16 and a teammate of the other two victims.
Police found sexually explicit messages he sent the girl on Snapchat. Instead of having a rendezvous with the 16-year-old girl, Ashley met up with Mesa police detectives who arrested him and accused him of a series of sex crimes.
Ashley admitted the sex acts when confronted by police. He entered into a plea agreement on Dec. 6 and is scheduled to be sentenced in February on a series of lesser charges, including three counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor and one count of luring a minor for sexual exploitation of a minor.
Raynak accuses Ashley of violating his client’s constitutional rights and failing in his duty to protect her as a Mesa Public Schools employee.
He also accuses an assistant girls’ basketball coach, Joshua Bribiescas, of failing to report the sex acts to authorities after Ashely told him about them.
In addition, Raynak accuses the school district of wrongdoing in hiring the coaches and failing to train them properly. The suit also seeks to hold all of the defendants accountable by seeking damages that would be determined at trial, barring an out of court settlement.
“Defendants Ashley and Bribiescas were working for the School District and were acting under color of law and within the scope of their employment with the High School,’’ the suit says.
“The school district had in effect, and was responsible for, the policies and procedures that govern the conduct of the School District employee Defendants as it relates to their actions,’’ the suit says, maintaining the school employees “owed her (the victim) a duty of care to keep her safe from physical and emotional harm while she was in the care of the school district and the high school,’’ Raynak wrote in the suit.
Ashley’s plea agreement calls for a sentence of 3.5 to 5 years in prison on two charges of the attempted sexual conduct with a minor, with the prison sentences running consecutively.
If Judge Sally Duncan follows the plea agreement, Ashley would receive 7-10 years in prison, in addition to lifetime probation and registration as a sex offender on the third attempted sexual conduct with a minor charge.
The court documents describe a series of sex acts occurring when Ashley was either giving the girls rides home after practice or arranging to meet them for sex acts.
The acts occurred in his car in parking lots or alleys near their homes in Mesa and Chandler. One location was in the parking lot of a Mesa church.
Ashley was initially arrested on charges related to his attempts to lure the 16-year-old into engaging in sex with him, but during an interview with detectives, he admitted the sex acts involving her 17-year-old teammates.
“Kyler admitted he was meeting the victim to have sex with her, knowing she was 16 years old. Kyler told me he knew it was illegal for him to have sex with a 16-year-old girl,’’ the court document said.
“Kyler told me he knew the victim since eighth grade and she was a player on his high school JV basketball team,” a detective wrote.
Raynak’s suit said in one instance, Ashley had sex with his client in an alley behind her home.
In another case, Ashely inappropriately touched his client while parked in front of her home while his year-old son also was inside the car, police said.
Because of failures by Ashley, Bribiescas and the district, Raynak said his client suffered “severe emotional, distress, shock, horror, fright and psychological trauma’’ resulting in injuries including “nausea, sleeplessness and headaches.’’
He demands compensatory damages, and in some cases punitive damages, against those named in the suit.
According to a statement released by Mesa Public Schools following Ashley’s arrest, Ashley was hired at Dobson in 2016. He passed a background check performed by the district before he was hired, and also had coached the girls’ basketball team at Summit Academy, a middle school in Mesa.
“Mesa Public Schools’ first priority is the safety and security of our students,” the district said, describing Ashley as a “seasonal basketball coach’’ who performed no other jobs at MPS.
He was immediately terminated after his arrest.