Former NFL cornerback Shareece Wright has revealed that he is one of 12 people who anonymously claim they were sexually assaulted by a former high school sports coach while they were still minors.
ESPN reports that the alleged assaults occurred when Wright and the others were students at a Southern California high school, according to court documents and interviews.
Wright told ESPN that he hopes speaking out “will prevent this from happening to other kids.”
“The less it’s kept secret, the harder it is to keep happening,” the 36-year-old said.
In September 2022, Wright was among six former high school football players who sued the Colton Joint Unified School District and former coach Tiffany Strauss-Gordon.
Shareece Wright claims she was sexually assaulted by former high school sports coach
Since then, six others have joined the list of plaintiffs. Strauss-Gordon, suspended since 2022, has denied the allegations and no criminal charges have yet been filed.
Strauss-Gordon’s father, Harold Strauss, who died in 2019, built Colton High School into a football powerhouse.
Wright claims he first met Strauss-Gordon when he was a 15-year-old freshman. She was 21 years old at the time. He accuses her of grooming him by flirting with her, favoritism with her, and giving him a nickname for her.
Strauss-Gordon is alleged to have inappropriately touched Wright during treatment sessions and performed oral sex on her in the training room.
Wright told ESPN that when he was 17, he and Strauss-Gordon had several sexual encounters in places such as the locker room and weight room. According to the lawsuit, as reported by ESPN, the couple had sex at Harold Strauss’ home.
“We have football, we have the coach’s daughter, we have a permissive school environment where it’s allowed to happen, we have kind of a perfect storm of sexual abuse that could easily be covered up,” said Wright’s attorney, Morgan. Stewart told ESPN. He also represents eight other plaintiffs.
The age of consent in California is 18 years old. Adults who engage in sexual activity with a minor may face statutory rape proceedings. But local authorities told ESPN that charges were not filed against Strauss-Gordon due to lack of sufficient evidence.
She told police in 2022 that the men had filed the lawsuit for financial reasons.
In 2011, Wright was one of three players from the school to be drafted to the NFL, more than any other high school in the country.
Wright was drafted by the Chargers before playing for the 49ers, Ravens, Bills, Raiders and Texans. He played in the NFL until 2018.