A former ice skating coach and the Paramount rink where he worked are being sued in a lawsuit brought on behalf of a 13-year-old girl he was convicted of molesting.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Wednesday names as defendants the ex-coach, Donald J. Vincent; Paramount Iceland and its figure skating director, Darlene Sparks; and the United States Figure Skating Association. The plaintiff is identified only as Annie G. and she is represented in her complaint by her mother, who is identified only as Anna G.
Representatives for Paramount Iceland, Sparks and the USFSA did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
The plaintiff began skating at age 6 and dreamed of becoming a professional skater, the suit states. A year later in 2009, Vincent began coaching the girl, the suit states.
“Prior to becoming Annie’s coach, Vincent had already established a behavioral pattern of isolating his students from other skaters and other people,” the suit alleges. “This pattern continued with Annie.”
Sparks began documenting Vincent’s inappropriate behavior when he first started working at Paramount Iceland, according to the lawsuit.
Sparks put Vincent on probation for running afoul of teaching rules, but not for his conduct with minors, the suit states. The rink benefited financially from his work with students and the Iceland staff told Annie’s parents that he was an “excellent coach,” according to the lawsuit.
Vincent began to homeschool Annie at his Downey home in 2011 and she was alone with him several hours daily, the suit states.
“It was at this time that Vincent’s abuse and sexual assault of Annie began to escalate,” the suit alleges.
Vincent became angry during some of the private skating sessions he had with her and made threats concerning her family, the suit states.
“Vincent made sure that Annie lived in fear of him,” the suit states. “He threatened to turn her parents in to immigration authorities. He told Annie that if she told anyone what he had done to her, her mother and father would be deported and she would be forced to live with him.”
The USFSA filed a grievance against Vincent, but closed the case a short time later despite having prior knowledge and additional information regarding Vincent’s conduct in addition to the information provided them by Sparks, the suit states.
Unaware that Vincent was abusing their daughter, the girl’s parents allowed her to continue being coached by Vincent when he obtained a new job at the Skating Edge Ice Arena in Harbor City in December 2011 after management at Paramount Iceland removed him, the suit states. He continued his threats and emotional abuse of the girl for about another year, the suit alleges.
Sparks did not discuss Vincent’s abuses of the plaintiff with the girl’s mother until the coach was arrested in January 2013 on allegations of molesting a boy who also was one of Vincent’s students, the suit alleges.
In November 2014, Vincent, then 31, was sentenced in Pomona Superior Court to 98 years, eight months to life in prison for molesting two victims, one of them Annie and the other a boy who also was one of Vincent’s former students. In addition to Downey, Vincent also has lived in Hacienda Heights and resided in Torrance when he was arrested.
Nine months earlier, a jury convicted Vincent of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, two counts of lewd acts upon a child, two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child, and five charges relating to sex acts with a child under 10.
Officials said the male student was molested when he was between 12 and 15 years old.
—City News Service