NAU, regents settle one victim’s claim for $150,000
The lawsuit alleges the NAU women's swim team coach complained about Charles Arabas in the early 1990s, but without results.
BY LARRY HENDRICKS
Sun Staff Reporter
In addition to the criminal charges, civil claims have been filed against Charles Arabas by two of his victims.
Also named in the' suit are Northern Arizona University and the Arizona Board of Regents. They have already settled with the family of one victim 'named in the suit for $150,000. The lawsuit, originally filed in Coconino County, was transferred to Maricopa County in January.
According to the complaint filed July 22, 2003, two women are named as the plaintiffs, and because one of the plaintiffs was a minor at the time of the offense, her parents also are named as plaintiffs.
The allegations in the lawsuit state that in the early 19908, the NAU women's swimming team coach advised the director of athletics that "members of the NAU female swim team had reported that Defendant Arabas was massaging them and touching them in an inappropriate manner."
The complaint goes on to say that after being advised of the allegations, NAU "failed to reasonably investigate these allegations and took no action to limit Defendant Arabas' activities or access to female swim team members, including the minor female members of the Northern Arizona Swim Association team."
The suit seeks undisclosed monetary damages because, in the course of being sexually molested or abused, the victims were physically battered and intentionally and negligently inflicted with emotional distress. And NAU and ABOR were negligent and were in breach of confidence and trust in failing to warn and protect NASA team members or parents of the risk of harm Arabas posed.
"As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' actions, (the victims) have suffered physical injury and severe emotional distress, including but not limited to, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem for which they have required and will continue to require psychological treatment," the complaint states.
Sara Powell, attorney for the four people named as plaintiffs in the suit, said that three have settled' their suit with the state. She could not discuss the details of the agreements.
According to information released by the Arizona Attorney General's Office, which represented NAU and the regents, the three plaintiffs who settled, each received $50,000.
Arabas was hired by NAU six months after resigning in 1992 as a diving coach from Truman State University in Missouri. Women on the TSU diving team made accusations against Arabas similar to the ones made by the Flagstaff victims, but no criminal charges were ever filed in Missouri.
TSU officials allowed Arabas to resign in 1992, and they agreed not to tell future employers of the accusations. Arabas was the coach for the NASA and manager for NAU's Wall Aquatic Center until his resignation early in 2003.Source: Arizona Daily Sun, Saturday, September 11, 2004 A8
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