Ex-coach says he stayed silent by request

Updated: July 28, 2004, 12:47 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Former La Salle University men's basketball coach Billy Hahn took no action a year ago when first approached by a female student who says she was sexually assaulted by one of his players.

But Hahn, who acknowledged his inaction at a news conference Tuesday, denied ever discouraging the woman from going to police, and said he kept silent about their conversation at her request.

Billy Hahn
The lawyer for Billy Hahn, above, called the former La Salle coach's failure to go to police "an honest mistake."

"I asked her several times, 'What do you want me to do about this? What do you want me to do about this? Do you want me to take it further? Do you want to go on with this?' She told me she just wanted to forget about it, and let it go away," Hahn said.

Hahn resigned last week after two of his former players were charged with raping a 19-year-old woman who had been working at a youth basketball camp run by John Miller, the coach of La Salle's women's basketball team. Miller also resigned.

During the investigation that led to those charges, a second woman came forward and allegedly told police she had been sexually assaulted by another male basketball player at La Salle in 2003 while she was a member of the women's team.

The woman said she had informed both Miller and Hahn that she had been assaulted, but decided not to file charges when the coaches discouraged her from doing so, police said.

Hahn acknowledged speaking to the woman about her problems with the male player, but said his decision not to contact authorities or school administrators was made at her request.

Hahn's lawyer, Nick Nastasi, called the coach's failure to go to police "an honest mistake."

"When a serious allegation like this is made, coaches cannot extend that confidentiality to a player," Nastasi said. "If a student has that kind of problem, they shouldn't put their coaches in that position of requesting confidentiality."

In previous interviews, Miller has told a similar story, saying the woman asked him to keep their conversations about the matter private.

Both coaches have declined to say exactly what the woman told them during their meetings with her in 2003.

The male player has not been charged and his name has not been made public.

Hahn said at his news conference that he intends to spend the next year traveling to college campuses and speaking about the need for students and athletes to act more responsibly and curb underage drinking.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press