First Alert 4 Investigates: Second player accuses St. Louis County softball coach of sexual assault

A second young softball player sues her former St. Louis County coach, accusing him of sexual assault.
Published: Oct. 9, 2023 at 10:48 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A second young softball player is suing her former St. Louis County coach, accusing him of sexual assault.

It’s the latest development in a First Alert 4 Investigation first brought to light last year after obtaining a deposition of Aaron Byington, admitting under oath he had sexual contact with a teen player.

Byington is a former coach of the St. Louis Stix, a competitive team for girls 18 and under that paid the Kirkwood Athletic Association [KAA] to play on their fields. Byington was the head coach. He was also employed by KAA.

Byington was first sued by a young woman going by Jane Doe to protect her identity. Jane Doe claimed Byington and another coach, Alex Wolters, sexually assaulted her over the course of months.

In the lawsuit, Jane Doe claims the abuse started in 2020 with Byington and Wolters each “grooming” her. She said it evolved to “repeated sexual assault that continued for a year.” According to the lawsuit, Doe was 17 years old when she joined the team. Wolters was 27, and Byington was 36.

Jane Doe also sued KAA for negligence. Her suit against the coaches and athletic association reached a settlement, but the details are not public.

Now another woman going by Janet Doe to protect her identity, is suing Byington and KAA. In her lawsuit, Janet Doe claims the abuse started in August 2020 when she was 17 years old and Byington was 36.

Janet Doe’s lawsuit says it started with grooming through compliments and Snapchat messages then evolved into sexual assault including, “forcing her to make contact with his genitals.” According to Janet Doe’s lawsuit, she was, “conditioned, brainwashed and ‘groomed’ to trust Byington to comply with his direction and to respect him as a person of authority.”

Last year First Alert 4 Investigates obtained video of Byington, speaking under oath. The video was taken as a deposition of Byington in the Jane Doe case and is a public court record. While Byington admits to actions including oral sex with Jane Doe, lawyers also questioned him about other players he coached.

In the video deposition, Jane Doe’s lawyer Dan DeFeo off camera can be heard asking, “Have there been other players that you’ve had any kind of sex with, whether it’s kissing, groping, anything?”

Byington responds, “No, sir.”

At another point in the deposition, DeFeo asks Byington, “You deny that you’ve ever had sex with any other player?”

Byington responds, “Yes, sir.”

DeFeo follows up and asks, “So if any other player or Jane Doe says that you have, they’re -- as far as you’re concerned, they’re lying?”

Byington answers, “As far as I’m concerned, they are lying, yes.”

Byington gave that testimony in 2023, two years after he coached Janet Doe.

First Alert 4 Investigates reached out to Byington and his lawyer, but neither responded to requests for an interview.

A lawyer for the Kirkwood Athletic Association had no comment but said they’d be filing their response to Janet Doe’s lawsuit.

Janet Doe’s lawsuit claims KAA, “turned a blind eye and dismissed all the red flags of grooming.” The suit also says KAA was supposed to follow the federal SafeSport Act, which applies to Olympic-affiliated teams and events.

The act, passed by Congress in 2017, makes it clear there is a “power imbalance” between coaches and players and they can’t be involved in sexual acts until the player turns 20.

KAA’s website touts USA Softball events and includes multiple images of its logo. USA Softball is subject to the SafeSport Act.

In his deposition, Byington is asked by a lawyer, “Do you think it’s okay for you to have sexual relationships with your female players?”

Byington responds, “If a female player is of age, a consenting age then I would say yes.”

St. Louis County Police investigated Byington and he has not been charged criminally.