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Source: (PHOTO: WISH-TV)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Three women associated with Butler University’s women’s soccer team sued the team’s former assistant athletic trainer and his supervisor over claims of sexual assault.

The motion filed in federal court Wednesday was made on behalf of three women, identified as Jane Doe 1, 2, and 3.

The women are three of six who formally reported sexual abuse within the team. The women reported to Coach Tari St. John, Butler’s Title IX Coordinator Maria Kanger, or both.

The trainer, Michael Howell was put on administrative leave following a Title IX investigation into the situation. His supervisor, Ralph Reiff, remains as Butler’s senior associate athletic director.

Court documents obtained Wednesday say that Howell “groomed, illicitly photographed, and sexually assaulted” Jane Doe 1 from early 2021 until October 2021, as well as other women’s soccer players.

Howell was the athletic trainer for the women’s soccer and men’s tennis team. Trainers are responsible for physically treating players to prevent and remedy injuries.

Documents say, “Howell leveraged his authority and power as an athletic trainer to isolate, groom, manipulate, control, sexually assault, and otherwise abuse Ms. Doe,” with much of the abuse occurring during injury treatment sessions.

Butler University and Reiff are “vicariously liable” for the charges of negligence, gross negligence, battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the documents say.

The suit alleges that neither Reiff nor Butler University “provided Ms. Doe and other female athletes training or education concerning the proper protocols and athletic treatment by trainers and personnel that would have direct physical contact with athletes.”

The suit also says that Reiff “did not do anything reasonably required to investigate the circumstances, train the coaches, keep Howell or the athletes under watch, or otherwise protect multiple women as they were repeatedly abused by Howell.”

WISH-TV reached out to Butler for comment but have not heard a response.