Crime

Former Puyallup youth wrestlers allege sexual abuse by ex-coach, sue city, program

Two men who say they were sexually abused by their youth wrestling coach in Puyallup have sued the city, adding that similar crimes in Oregon should have prevented him from being part of the youth program.

Identified in court paperwork only by their initials, the men allege coach Kenneth Scott Carroll molested them while they participated in the Puyallup Falcons junior wrestling team, which they joined when they were 4 and 11 years old.

Now they’re 20 and 24.

Program director Steve Losee said the club separated from the city in the summer of 2014, and is now an independent non-profit known officially as the Puyallup Wrestling Club. All volunteers have to undergo national background checks, and everyone who was volunteering when Carroll was a coach has since left, Losee said.

Carroll also coached the Puyallup Roughriders youth football team, which is named in the suit, along with the wrestling team, the city, its parks and recreation department and the Puyallup Junior Football Association.

The suit alleges the groups were negligent in bringing Carroll into the program, failing to properly supervise him, failing to do a proper background check and allowing him to take youths on overnight trips without supervision.

They should have known Carroll had exploited his position as a coach in Oregon well before the Puyallup abuse happened, according to the suit, which was filed last week in Pierce County Superior Court.

Carroll, 43, was sentenced to 18 years, nine months in February for sexually abusing youths he coached in Oregon.

He coached youth wrestling and football for the Colton School District and Colton Youth Sports from 1998 to 2002, according to The Oregonian newspaper.

Assistant Puyallup City Manager Steve Kirkelie said the city now does national background checks each year on every volunteer. He said he was looking into how involved the city was with the sport’s program, but that he knows Carroll was not a city employee.

“We’re glad that Mr. Carroll is in prison, because that’s where he belongs,” Kirkelie said. “… We obviously have a great deal of compassion for the victims of his heinous crimes.”

The lawsuit states that Carroll started working in Puyallup sometime before 2002. He left the wrestling league in 2006, according to the program.

Investigators identified five victims in Washington and five in Oregon, and believed others had yet to come forward.

Police started looking into Carroll after an alleged victim contacted them in 2014.

Detectives said they found more than 140,000 photos and 1,000 videos of child pornography at Carroll’s Puyallup home, some from the Internet and some he allegedly took of his victims.

The Washington case was sent to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which has not yet decided whether to file charges against Carroll, spokeswoman Emily Langlie said.

Carroll coached wrestling for the Puyallup School District from October 2006 to November 2007, but investigators didn’t find anything from his time there.

The men who filed the suit are represented by attorneys Jack Connelly and Evan T. Fuller.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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