December 6, 2021

RI legal professional requests ‘fat test’ files from former coach

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A non-public attorney has issued a courtroom-approved ask for in search of documents from previous North Kingstown Significant University boys basketball mentor Aaron Thomas amid an ongoing scandal about his interactions with teenage university student-athletes, Concentrate on 12 has acquired.

Timothy Conlon, who signifies former athletes who have accused Thomas of inappropriately getting them to strip naked for so-named “fat tests,” confirmed he despatched the longtime coach what is called a “writ of replevin.”

The writ — which is like a non-prison version of a subpoena — is employed by lawyers to retrieve products or information and facts that they argue belongs to their consumers but is wrongfully in the possession of another person else.

John MacDonald, who signifies Thomas, verified his shopper been given the writ. He stated the court docket doc seeks data which include a consent kind from a single of Conlon’s consumers, who’s described as “John Doe.”

The writ was despatched in the wake of MacDonald publicly releasing a copy of a consent kind last 7 days. MacDonald stated at the time Thomas was in possession of 300 signed consent kinds spanning a lot more than 10 years, which he argued clearly show the coach received specific consent ahead of any of the controversial physique-fats tests started off.

Now, nonetheless, MacDonald said Thomas does not have the forms. “The primary consent sorts are again with the College Division due to the fact they are School Department items,” he advised Focus on 12.

Conlon stated he’s now hoping to have an understanding of who has been been in possession of the consent forms.

“We’re in the procedure of appropriately documenting what we now fully grasp is represented to be the travel of this, which is someway the documents remaining removed from the university, then returned to the university,” he stated, introducing that he will report what he learns to the court.

Target 12 has interviewed nearly two dozen former college student athletes, mothers and fathers and city officials who all stated Thomas inappropriately asked underage gamers to get fully undressed on your own with him at the rear of closed doors in his business office and a locker-room closet relationship back to the mid-1990s.

At the time naked, the college students reported Thomas instructed them to stretch, duck-stroll and sit cross-legged as section of a regime that also concerned Thomas working with a caliper to evaluate their higher internal thighs. The mentor would kneel in front of the naked teenagers whilst using the measurements, according to a number of college students, who said his experience was near their genitalia.

Thomas has not been billed with any prison offenses, but Lawyer Standard Peter Neronha’s workplace is now investigating the allegations. MacDonald has defended the coach’s steps, expressing he under no circumstances broke the legislation.

The North Kingstown School Division has not responded to numerous issues about the consent sorts, but the variation delivered by MacDonald does not counsel learners need to have to be naked for the tests.

“After I grew up, I started off inquiring some authentic questions about what took place,” a person previous player instructed Goal 12 as portion of a months-extensive investigation. “Did I need to be bare?” 

North Kingstown Superintendent Phil Auger — who has confirmed he was notified about the excess fat tests in 2018 — spoke publicly about the difficulty for the very first time Wednesday.

He mostly defended the district’s response to the allegations and remained steadfast in his declare that the previous pupil athlete who advised him about excess fat assessments in 2018 hardly ever claimed he was bare.

“He explained to me he was both in a towel or fitness center shorts for the check,” Auger claimed in organized remarks during a North Kingstown University Committee meeting. “The unique explained he was not bare for the check, but he uncovered the check abnormal.”

The claim contradicts multiple previous learners and Conlon, who formerly explained to Concentrate on 12 the pupil informed Auger he was naked for the tests, as were many others. Auger claimed he afterwards questioned Thomas in 2018 irrespective of whether pupils were naked for the exams. The superintendent has not responded to abide by-up inquiries about why he would question about nudity if he was hardly ever advised about it.

“When I questioned him, he said unequivocally that no a single experienced at any time been bare in front of him for one particular of these sessions,” Auger said about his dialogue with Thomas in 2018.

Previous students who have been fat analyzed are now staying inspired to appear ahead to go over their activities with the School Division as properly as law enforcement and Day A single, a nonprofit that discounts with difficulties connected to sexual assault.

Neronha explained to 12 Information previously this thirty day period that his group that handles scenarios of sexual assault from small children is examining the allegations, which could ultimately lead to a grand jury investigation.

Conlon’s final decision to send out the writ to Thomas also raises the specter that civil proceedings could be on the horizon, as the courtroom-approved motion is fully different from the legal probe.

So far no lawsuits have been submitted against Thomas, and MacDonald stated his consumer has not been interviewed by the lawyer general’s place of work.

A hearing on the writ is scheduled for Dec. 3 at Washington County Superior Court.

“We’ll report back again to the court docket that we have none of these products,” MacDonald stated.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 managing editor and main investigative reporter at 12 Information, and the host of Newsmakers. Join with him on Twitter and Fb.

Eli Sherman (esherman@wpri.com) is a Concentrate on 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Hook up with him on Twitter and on Fb.

Amanda Pitts contributed to this story.