Statement by Cheryl Butler

(February, 2018)

Note: For the past almost 25 years Rick and I have tried be professional regarding the issues I am about to discuss in this statement. Our goal was to move on from 1994 and the allegations from the 1980’s, to provide the absolute best service we could to our customers and our employees. I have been involved with the Sports Performance program for over 30 years, Rick and I have been together for the past 27 years. I never wanted to go public with the things that I have written in this statement, but the ongoing smear campaign in the press and on social media has made “taking the high road” virtually impossible.

I am writing this statement to address the ongoing smear campaign against my husband Rick Butler that is taking place on social media and in the press. The number of lies and false statements I have seen printed over the past couple years has brought me to this point. This statement will address allegations that date back to the early and mid 1980’s as well as the recent ruling by USA Volleyball to ban Rick for life. The most serious allegations were made in 1994 against Rick by his former partner who he asked to leave the organization in 1989, Kay Rogness and three former players Sarah Powers, Christine Brigman and Julie Bremner. Powers, Brigman and Bremner have alleged that they were victims of sexual abuse when they played for teams coached by Rick in the early and mid-1980’s and have remained traumatized for the past three decades. Kay Rogness, also claimed that she was aware of the abuse. Everything included in this statement has been seen or read with my own eyes, heard with my own ears or was addressed in the six total polygraph tests that Rick and I have voluntarily taken.



One of the misconceptions regarding the Sports Performance Volleyball program is that the parents in our program are “idiots” for allowing their daughters to participate in the program and only care about “the scholarship”. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have a very large number of former players who now have their daughters and sons involved in the Sports Performance program. Those parents experienced the program for themselves firsthand in the 1980’s and 1990’s and now have chosen to have their children participate.

Last month (January, 2018) we sent out a mass e-mail to over 600 families in the Sports Performance and Great Lakes Center Youth Academy programs. We offered to meet with any family who had any concerns regarding all the negative publicity that Rick has been getting in the press over the past few months. Out of those 600+ families, one family requested a meeting. Rick and I met with that family who was in their first year with the program. At the end of the meeting they made it clear that their daughter would continue to be a part of the program and she loved her first year playing in the program. I’m not sure there could be a stronger testimonial for the program than the examples that I have just mentioned. The parents in our program are police officers, judges, ministers, attorneys and come from all walks of life. They are certainly not brainwashed into having their children participate in the Sports Performance program. They are closer to us and our program and have more direct knowledge than anyone else. They have made a well researched and thoughtful choice to have their daughters and sons participate in the Sports Performance program. One out of 600! That should give people pause to think that maybe there is a lot more to this story than what they read in the press or on social media. Also, if people look a little deeper they will see that this issue has its own hidden agenda.

In 1992 a young lady was placed in our home by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and she lived with us for the entire 1992-1993 school year. She’s actually one of several players who have lived with us over the past 25 years. She was a player on Rick’s team and after personal issues and a family tragedy created a very bad situation in her home she was placed in our home. Four years later this young lady would invite Rick and me to attend her Senior Night match and stand with her in the pregame introductions as she ended her college career.


Page 2: Background

I first met Rick Butler in the summer of 1980 before my senior year of high school. Along with some of my high school teammates we attended a volleyball conditioning program that Rick was running at the Sports Fitness Institute in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I didn’t see Rick again until the fall of 1986 after I had graduated from college and gone back to my high school to assist with coaching the volleyball team. We were playing a match at St. Francis high school in Wheaton when Rick approached me following the match and asked me if I would have an interest in coaching with the Sports Performance Volleyball club. I had just started teaching elementary school at a Catholic grammar school and was recently married. My lifelong goal was to be a teacher and a coach so I was very excited to have the chance to coach with a program as strong as Sports Performance. I talked it over with my husband and my former high school head coach, both agreed it would be a great opportunity and would provide great experience to my development as a coach. I joined Sports Performance Volleyball as a coach for the 1987 club season coaching one of the 18’s teams made up of juniors and seniors. During that first season Kay Rogness was the club director along with Rick. Julie Bremner was a junior in high school and was playing on Rick’s team at the time. Sarah Powers was in the gym on an almost daily basis since she had taken off the second semester of her senior year in college to come back to Chicago and play for the Chicago Breeze, which was a new professional team in the newly formed “Major League Volleyball”. Rick was the head coach of the Breeze that year and Kay Rogness was the general manager. During the summer of 1987 Rick asked me if I would be interested in being his assistant coach for the 1988 season with his 18 Elite team. 1988 would be my last year of teaching grammar school. In the summer of 1988 I would join the Sports Performance program as a full-time employee where I have remained for the past 30 years.

Page 3: 1995 Adoption Investigation

My first marriage ended in 1989. Rick and I began dating in 1991 and were married on January 2, 1994. We both very much wanted to have children since Rick had lost a young son to a drowning in the 1970’s and I had lost a baby to a miscarriage in 1988. I was later told that I would never be able to have children. Late in 1994 we had the opportunity to adopt a baby that was due to be born in the spring of 1995. The allegations against Rick in 1994 had caused a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation in the spring of 1994. Following that was the USA Volleyball hearing which was held in late July, 1995 in Chicago which created a great deal of media publicity. Our baby was born in late April, 1995 and that triggered an eight month investigation, after the presiding judge overseeing the adoption issued a court order to unseal and review all the documentation regarding the DCFS investigation and the allegations against Rick. Rick and I were also interviewed on multiple occasions. This was the only time that an investigation took place that would look at all the facts regarding the allegations against Rick. In 1994 the DCFS had only spoken by phone to four different people, Kay Rogness, Rick’s former partner and former players Sarah Powers, Christine Brigman and Julie Bremner. Rogness failed to tell the DCFS that she had been asked to leave the Sports Performance program in 1989 and that she had a 10 year sexual relationship with Rick during the entire time she had told the DCFS that she was witnessing the abuse in the Sports Performance program. In 1995, USA Volleyball didn’t spend any time investigating or challenging the allegations. They just took the statements from the accusers, scheduled and held a hearing and then suspended Rick. The adoption investigation was much more thorough and was overseen by a judge. In his report to the judge, the investigator who was charged with recommending if the adoption should be approved stated that he had spoken to DCFS investigators who had admitted that no laws were broken and he did not find the allegations against Rick “believable”.

A year and a half after the DCFS investigation and five months after the USAV hearing in July of 1995, the eight month court ordered investigation was concluded with the approval of the adoption of our baby in December of 1995.


Notes Regarding the 1994 DCFS Investigation

It should be noted that after the allegations were made against Rick in 1994, the Illinois DCFS conducted an investigation of the Sports Performance program and spoke with the players that Rick was training at the time. That investigation found nothing at all regarding any type of inappropriate behavior. The DCFS investigator told Rick that they were not going to make any recommendations to restrict his coaching of junior athletes. Also, Rick’s case file with the DCFS was expunged and destroyed in 1999 after five years, which was the minimum length of time that the DCFS had to keep any report on file.

Expunged DCFS case letter

Page 4: Kay Rogness

For the past 25 years Kay Rogness, Rick’s former business partner has been claiming that she left the Sports Performance Program in 1988 because of Rick’s inappropriate behavior with his players. In 1994 she told the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) the same story and the DCFS investigator termed Kay, “the key witness” in their investigation of Rick.

In her statement to the Illinois DCFS, Rogness stated that she had left the program in 1988 because of Rick’s behavior: “Since I believed that Butler was pursuing yet another player, I decided to leave Sports Performance.

After reading this statement and the attached documents, you will see that Kay’s version of her departure from the Sports Performance volleyball program is different from the actual facts.

I was approached in the spring of 1988 about becoming a full-time employee for Training & Publications, which was the company that managed the Sports Performance Volleyball program and also ran all the other business interest such as camps, clinics, events, etc…. I was first asked by Rick and then later had a conversation with Kay. She told me that she felt at some point Rick would move on to coach at a higher level and that she did not want to be left alone running the club. She needed a job that would provide a steady income if Rick moved on. She was 14 years older than Rick and said she needed financial security. She had decided to go to law school and had applied to Loyola-Chicago so she could remain with Sports Performance on a full-time basis. When she did not get admitted to Loyola, she started to look at law schools out of state and eventually settled on Denver, since her daughter was there in school. Regardless of what Kay has been saying over the past 25 years, in 1988 she made it clear to me she would be back to work at the club during the summers and back for good once she got out of law school. She said the same thing in the Sports Performance board of directors meeting in August, 1988 that I attended.

The first year I was working full-time (1988-89), Kay was still running the financial side of the business from Colorado. She told both Rick and I that it had been recommended by our accountant that each week I should mail her all the checks that had come in and she would prepare and make every deposit. It was clear that this system was very inefficient and when Rick approached our accountant in the spring of 1989, he was told he had not made any recommendation to Kay and that the whole process we were using was ridiculous. It was at that point that Rick decided that a long distance partnership with Kay was not going to work. She wanted to be treated like a day to day partner who was gone most of the year. Kay came back to work for the summer of 1989, but it was obvious that there was tension between her and Rick.

On August 1, 1989 Rick was leaving to visit his mother in Oregon and Kay was out of town as well so he left her a long letter offering to buy her out of the company. He left his mother’s phone number and asked Kay to give him a call if she wanted to discuss the letter.


Page 5: Kay’s Angry Letter

No call came, but when he got back to Illinois, Kay had left Rick a letter dated August 7, 1989. In that letter Kay was very angry and upset about being asked to leave the company. She also confirmed in the same letter that she had been having a sexual relationship with Rick as recently as March of 1989.


Page 6: Kay’s Negotiation Letters

Over the next almost 13 months, numerous letters of negotiation would go back and forth between Rick and Kay, finally ending on August 23, 1990 when Kay resigned from the company as well as her position on the Sports Performance Board of Director’s.






Page 7: Kay’s Rental Agreement

She was to be paid a total of $55,000 over a 3-4 year period of time. It should be noted that throughout the entire period of negotiations and the numerous documents between Rick and Kay, not a single mention was made of any type of inappropriate behavior between Rick and his players. Also, during the summer of 1990, Rick and Kay entered into an agreement for Rick to lease her Illinois townhome through July of 1991 while she was finishing law school in Colorado. This is the same person who in 1994 & 1995 told the Illinois DCFS and USA Volleyball that she was a witness to Rick’s predatory behavior throughout the entire 1980’s. Yet as late as 1991 she had no problem renting her house to the same man who she now says she is trying to protect young females from! That didn’t seem to be an issue for 12 years from 1979-1991.


Kay’s last “buyout” payment was made in 1993. Rick and I were married on January 2, 1994 and less than 90 days later Kay would write a statement to the Illinois DCFS against Rick, along with 3 former players who have admitted they were contacted by Kay. The investigation against Rick by the Illinois DCFS was made without a single in-person interview. Only phone conversations to the four individuals (Kay Rogness, Sarah Powers, Christine Brigman, Julie Bremner).

Kay Rogness has been saying for over two decades that her actions are only about “protecting” young females. The fact that she has completely falsified her past history with Rick as well as why and when she left the Sports Performance program paints a completely different picture. Also, the fact that for four years after being asked to leave the Sports Performance program, she didn’t say or do anything to “protect” the players Rick was coaching, speaks volumes to what her true motives have been all along.

Page 8: Kay’s Adoption Interference

The defining moment came in 1995 when Rick and I were in the middle of adopting a new born baby. The baby had come home with us 24 hours after being born in April of 1995. On the day the adoption was finalized, we found out from the attorneys involved in the adoption that Kay had made multiple attempts to contact the judge overseeing the adoption to offer “evidence against Rick Butler.” Kay was aware that Rick had lost a young son to a drowning in the mid 1970’s. Kay also knew that I had a miscarriage in my first marriage in 1988 and found out I was not able to have children. Kay had even sent me flowers following the miscarriage. Kay’s attempt to interfere with the adoption of our son in 1995 is exactly what this issue has really been about from the very beginning. It has never been about “protecting” anybody! She wanted to hurt Rick and me in the most personal way possible and going after our newborn baby was her way of doing it. She wanted Rick to suffer like he had in 1975 when he lost his son and with me having had a miscarriage in 1988 and not being able to have children after that, we would have lost all chances of having a family together.

Rick and his son
Rick and his son

Page 9: PrepVolleyball Message Board

Kay Rogness and her lies are symbolic of this entire issue. She has made so many false statements and lied so many times that she can no longer separate fact from fiction. In 2005 Kay and I had pretty intense back and forth on the “” message board. She came right out on the message board and denied that she had ever been involved in a sexual relationship with Rick. When in fact in 1995, she had admitted under oath, that a physical relationship between her and Rick had started in 1979 and lasted 10 years.

Reposted from message board thread

Cheryl Butler
Unregistered User(11/10/05 12:49 pm)
Reply Kay Rogness
“From 1979-1989 Rogness carried on a 10 year sexual relationship with Rick Butler. Yes, this is the same period of time that she says all the sexual abuse was taking place in the Sports Performance program. And, Rogness did admit to her relationship with Rick under oath in 1995!”

kay Rogness
Unregistered User(11/10/05 5:05 pm)
Response to Mrs. Butler
“I did not carry on a 10 year sexual relationship with Butler”


Rogness 1995 Testimony to IL. DCFS

Page 10: Rick’s Polygraph About Kay

It’s interesting that during the entire decade of the 1980’s, when Kay Rogness, a key witness for both the Illinois DCFS and USA Volleyball now says she was a witness to Rick abusing his players, she was actually involved in a physical relationship with him that entire time. Then in 1989 when she was asked to leave the Sports Performance program, does she welcome the chance to leave? Absolutely not, she was extremely angry and did not actually leave the organization for another year. You won’t read that in the press or on social media!


Page 11: Sarah Powers-Barnhard

(allegations from 1981-1983)

There is no question that Sarah Powers played for the Sports Performance Volleyball program for the 1981-82-83 club seasons before graduating and going on to play at Western Michigan University from 1983-1986. In 1994 she told the Illinois DCFS that she had been sexually abused by her coach, Rick Butler in 1981, even though Rick’s first year of coaching club volleyball was the 1982 club season. He did not coach Sarah’s club team or any team during the 1981 club season.

Then, on June 23, 2016, Powers filed a lawsuit against AAU claiming that she was sexually abused by Rick from 1982-1984, including in a dormitory at UCLA at the 1983 AAU Jr. National Championships in Los Angeles while she was a minor.

(False Claims from Sarah Powers’ lawsuit against AAU, June 23, 2016)

  • From 1982 through 1984, Rick Butler (“Butler”), a volleyball coach with the Sports Performance Rehabilitation Institute Inc. and Sports Performance Volleyball Club, sexually molested Plaintiff while he was her coach and she was a star volleyball player and member of the Sports Performance Rehabilitation Institute Inc. and Sports Performance Volleyball Club teams. Butler sexually molested Plaintiff while practicing for and participating in volleyball competitions that were sponsored and sanctioned by the AAU.
    Fact: Sarah Powers had left the Sports Performance program in June of 1983.
  • Athletes participating in the National Junior Olympics are required to use the housing provided by the host of the National Junior Olympics. AAU selects the host of the National Junior Olympics.
    Fact: AAU has NEVER had a policy requiring teams to stay in AAU selected housing.
  • In 1983, the Volleyball Junior Olympics finals were held m Los Angeles, California, at the University of California, Los Angeles (“UCLA”).
    Fact: The AAU Junior Olympic volleyball championships were held in Lisle, Illinois in 1983 and have never been held in Los Angeles at UCLA.
  • As a member of the Sports Performance Volleyball Club Team and a member of the AAU, Plaintiff participated in the 1983 Junior Olympics at UCLA. As part of the 1983 Junior Olympics at UCLA, Plaintiff spent the nights during the tournament in the UCLA dormitories.
    Fact: Sarah Powers Sports Performance team NEVER stayed in a dormitory at UCLA or anywhere else while participating in the AAU Jr. Olympic volleyball championships.
  • As the sponsor of the 1983 Junior Olympics at UCLA, the AAU was responsible for the supervision of Plaintiff, who was a minor.
    Fact: Besides the fact that the AAU tournament was not held at UCLA, Sarah Powers was not a minor during the time of the 1983 AAU Jr. Olympic volleyball championships which has been held every June for the past 40+ years. Powers had turned 18 in February several months previously.
  • During the 1983 Junior Olympics at UCLA, Butler had sexual contact with Plaintiff, who was a minor.

It would seem that before filing her lawsuit, Sarah Powers would have actually confirmed the facts regarding the allegations contained in that lawsuit. Especially, since she has been claiming how traumatized she was by what happened to her over 35 years ago. Sarah’s lawsuit against AAU was dismissed. When she filed her second lawsuit against AAU, her allegations against Rick completely changed.

  • From 1981 through 1983, Rick Butler (“Butler”), a volleyball coach with the Sports Performance Rehabilitation Institute Inc. and Sports Performance Volleyball Club, sexually molested Plaintiff while he was her coach and she was a star volleyball player and member of the Sports Performance Rehabilitation Institute Inc. and Sports Performance Volleyball Club teams. Butler sexually molested Plaintiff while practicing for and participating in volleyball competitions that were sponsored and sanctioned by the AAU.
    Fact: Rick was not even the coach of Sarah’s team or any team at the 1981 AAU Jr. Olympic Volleyball Championship. She also failed to mention that since the tournament was held each June in Lisle, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago, the Sports Performance players stayed in their own homes, never in a hotel or a dormitory, so being sexually abused while at the tournament would have been impossible.

The Sarah Powers story is intriguing on many levels because it seems to be constantly evolving. She has filed multiple complaints against AAU and signed her name to each lawsuit that she is telling the truth. Yet, that truth is constantly changing and no one seems to even bother to ask her, why? Such as the actual years that she played in the Sports Performance program or where the alleged abuse took place while she was an AAU member and not knowing when she actually turned 18. In a recent article Sarah says she was just too afraid to leave the Sports Performance program, yet after graduating from high school and moving to Michigan, she was regularly returning to Sports Performance. In the summer of 1984 she came back as a 19 year old and played in the AAU 19 & under Collegiate Division for a Sports Performance team.

Girls Volleyball team photo
1984 AAU 19 Under National Championships all-tournament team.

Also, let’s not forget that Sarah played for Rick the first two years that he ever coached volleyball during the 1982 and 1983 club seasons. He knew virtually nothing about the sport at that point and had zero standing within the volleyball community or with college coaches. Sarah has forgotten to mention in the press that in 1987 she took the spring semester of her senior year at Western Michigan off to move back to Chicago and play for the Chicago Breeze, a professional volleyball team. This was at the age of 22, four years after last playing for Rick and six years after she said that she was allegedly abused. The head coach of that team was Rick Butler and the general manager was Kay Rogness. We still have the scrap book of the 1987 Chicago Breeze team in our office with numerous newspaper articles where Sarah is quoted about returning to play for Rick. She mentions that prior to the league draft, Rick had called her and asked her if she wanted to return to Chicago to play for the Breeze.

The Glen Ellyn News, February 18, 1987

“I was still in my (college) season” Powers said. “Rick called me one night right after my season ended, and I said I didn’t want to think about it right away because we just finished, and he said, “Well you have till tomorrow morning. I said OK”……….We have a few people who know what Rick’s philosophies are,” Powers said. “It’s good because they’re real intense and do things a certain way and we know what to look at and say, O.K., we’re going to do it this way.”

This is six years after she had supposedly suffered all the horrendous abuse that she now claims happened to her when she was playing on Rick’s team. Yet, she voluntarily chose to leave college to return and play for the team that Rick was coaching. Here’s a quote from a 1995 letter written in support of Rick by one of Sarah’s teammates on the 1987 Chicago Breeze team.

January 4, 1995

“During my time with the Breeze, Sarah never gave the impression that she had been abused by Rick, and if she had, I find it hard to believe that she would choose to play for him again……However, I can attest to each of their characters during my time with the Breeze. Rick never led me to believe that he was interested in anything else except for putting the best prepared team on the floor to compete in the Pro League. Sarah, on the other hand, was just as interested in where the parties were and who she could meet after we played, especially on road trips.”

We have had several attorneys look at the Sarah Powers lawsuit against AAU and they all say the same thing, it’s about money! After Powers filed her lawsuit against AAU, her attorneys were on the internet looking for anyone who had ever been sexually abused as an AAU member to come forward and contact them. Sarah has done the same thing saying that if people come forward “the truth will set you free”. Getting a number of people to come forward against AAU could trigger the threat of a class action lawsuit against AAU. Sarah Powers as the lead plaintiff in any class action lawsuit against AAU would receive the majority of any financial settlement. She talks about the trauma of having to attend the AAU Jr. National Championships each year with Rick in attendance as the reason that she filed the lawsuit against AAU. That didn’t seem to be a problem in 2013, 2014 or 2015 when she was bringing her teams to the AAU tournament, with her own daughter playing in the event. This past summer she talked to the press about her team having to play a match against a Sports Performance team and having to be “on the same court with her abuser.” The fact is that her team was actually playing one of the Sports Performance 15’s teams and Rick was in Aurora, Illinois practicing with his 18’s team and would not come to Orlando to the AAU tournament for another two days. Other than the 1995 USAV hearing, Rick has not seen Sarah Powers since the late 1980’s. False information seems to be a theme throughout this entire issue!

Page 12: Christine Brigman (Tuzi)

(allegations from 1984)

Christine Brigman was last coached by Rick in June of 1984. In 1994 Brigman told the Illinois DCFS that Rick had been her coach in 1984 & 1985 and in 1995 she told USA Volleyball the same thing. Over the past year, letters that were alleged to have been written to Christine from Rick in 1985 when he was her coach have been posted on the internet and in the press. The people posting those letters don’t mention or possibly don’t even know that at that point, Rick had not been Christine’s coach for almost a year. In fact they weren’t even living in the same state when those letters were supposed to have been written. After the 1984 club season, Rick would leave Sports Performance to coach the 1984 collegiate season at Western Michigan. He lived in Michigan until the summer of 1985 before moving to Los Angeles for the 1985 collegiate season where he served as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Southern California. He would return to the Sports Performance program for the 1986 club season and has remained with the club since that time. In fact, in the winter and spring of 1986, while Christine was away at college, Rick was invited by Christine to live with her parent’s when he first moved back to Illinois. At no time did he ever live in Christine’s parent’s house when she lived there, regardless of the false information that is now being spread on the internet.

During the summer of 1987 (three years after Rick had last coached Brigman) Christine asked Rick if he would pay for her apartment rent in Los Angeles while she was in college at USC.


Page 13: Christine Brigman (continued)

Later in 1987 Rick was invited to Los Angeles to spend Thanksgiving with Christine where Rick would introduce Christine to his sister Jody who lived in Los Angeles.


I would see Christine around the gym from time to time and I know she was working camps each summer during the 1988-1989 camp seasons. I specifically remember in 1989 her and Rick meeting at the office to drive to Michigan to work a camp together. Kay Rogness was in charge of scheduling all the camp coaches that year, so if what is now being said is true, it seems very strange that Kay had assigned Rick and Christine to work the same camp together. This was five years after Rick had last coached Christine and she was in her 20’s at this time.


Page 14: Christine & Rick’s Relationship

After I started working full-time in the office, I would take calls from Christine when she would call to ask Rick out to lunch or to see if he could meet her. The last call I remember taking from Christine was in the spring of 1990 when she called Rick and shortly thereafter he left the office for the rest of the afternoon. He later told me they had met for lunch and Christine had told him that she had recently found out that her older sister had been fathered by a different man than Christine’s father, which came as a complete shock to Christine. In light of all the allegations now being thrown around, it’s very strange that she would call Rick and ask him to lunch to share that news with him, some six years after he had last coached her. It seems that type of information would be shared with someone who a person is very close to and has a great deal of trust in.

On December 28, 1990 at the age of 23, six and a half years after having last played for Rick and living 2,000 miles away from him for five of those years, Rick and Christine Brigman spent the entire day together touring the new facility that Sports Performance was building in West Chicago and then having lunch and spending the afternoon and evening together.


Page 15: Christine’s Gifts to Rick

In the spring of 1991 when Rick and I started dating, we sat down and had a very long talk about past relationships that he had. He was very forthcoming in detail regarding everything from the past, including the information that I have included in this statement. This was long before there were allegations of any kind. He showed me a drawer full of letters, cards and gifts that had been given to him over the years. There were dozens and dozens of cards and letters as well as gifts from Julie Bremner, but also gifts and letters from Christine Brigman as well as cards and thank you notes from many other former players. In 1987 for Christmas, Christine had given Rick a very nice book about Japan with a loving inscription on the inside jacket cover.


There was also a letter from Christine that was written a few years after Rick had last coached her. In the letter she had written down the names of six children, three boys and three girls that she planned to have after her and Rick were married. I remember one of the girl’s names was “Charley” and Christine had signed the letter “Christine Jean Butler”. The letter was written while Christine was living in California and going to college at USC. The letters from Christine portrayed a completely different picture of her relationship with Rick than what she is saying now or what is being portrayed to the press.

Page 16: Christine and Rick’s Family

If you look at the pictures of Christine with Rick’s mother and sister at a family party in 1988 where Rick was not even in attendance, it seems clear that there is a completely different side to this story!







Page 17: Christine’s Handwriting Samples

To find out how corrupt this process has been since the beginning, all you have to do is look at the signature on the 1995 statement that Christine submitted to USA Volleyball. Put that signature side by side with the signature from the Christmas present to Rick in 1987 and I defy anyone to tell me those two signatures are from the same person.


Page 18: Julie Bremner-Romius

(allegation from 1987)

Julie Bremner claims that she was sexually abused by Rick Butler in 1987 when she was 17 years old and has detailed how traumatized she was by the entire experience. Of the players who have made allegations against Rick, Julie is the player who I spent the most time with when she was a player in the Sports Performance program. She is also the player that I know without a doubt is not being honest about the details of her relationship with Rick. I was the assistant coach for Julie’s team her senior year starting in December of 1987 through June of 1988. Julie was the oldest player on the team and was also the captain. I was with her on an almost daily basis and she was by far the most outgoing of all the players on the team. We were training and playing 5-6 days per week so I got to know Julie very well.

  • On weekends when we didn’t have tournaments the team would sometimes have a double session practice at York high school in Elmhurst, IL. Julie always brought a lunch for Rick to eat between sessions.
  • I remember that year regularly Julie would ask Rick right in front of me if he could give her a ride home after practice.
  • I also remember Julie having to have knee surgery her senior year and she specifically asked Rick if he would go with her to the hospital on the day she had the surgery.
  • When Julie went out to train with the U.S. National Team in November of 1987, Rick even sent money to the National team assistant coach to cover the cost of Julie’s food for the time she was out there staying with the other players. Julie’s parents were going through a separation or something at that time and Rick felt like they were having a rough time so he sent his own money to cover her cost of food while she was in San Diego.
Check to Julie Bremmer from November 11, 1987
The back of the check written to Julie Bremmer from November 11, 1987

Page 19: Julie’s Sexual Assault Claim

All of this was going on in 1988 when Julie now claims that Rick had sexually assaulted her a year earlier. During that entire 1988 season, there was never a time that Julie seemed uncomfortable in any way around Rick. In fact, it was just the opposite; she spent more time around and talking with Rick than any of the other players by far.

After Julie graduated from the Sports Performance program she went to college at Notre Dame, but came home on an almost weekly basis to have Rick work with her on Sunday’s. She is even quoted in an article in the Chicago Sun-Times from September of 1990. This is over two years after she has left the Sports Performance program.

(Chicago Sun Times, September 5, 1990)

Former Chicago Sun-Times Players of the Year Julie Bremner and Mary Eggers advanced to the U.S. Women’s National Team after playing for Sports Performance. Sarah Powers went on to Major League Volleyball’s Chicago Breeze and Nancy Reno plays professionally in Turkey. After graduating from Stanford, Reno chose to train with Butler to prepare for National Team tryouts. Bremner commuted two hours each way on Sundays, her only day off as a freshman at Notre Dame, to practice with Sports Performance. “Practice was as physically demanding as it was on the National Team,” Bremner said. “The reason I’m a good setter is Rick. He’s an incredible motivator. I’ve always been very competitive inside and he found the proper way to channel it. He demands perfection. “Obviously you’ll never reach it, but you’ll get as close as possible. Putting bags in order, being punctual, diet and putting in more hours all adds up. He does it in such a way that you want to do it. You really respect him because he’s in it with you. He even ran the sprints with us.”

One day in the fall of 1988 after Julie was already at Notre Dame her mother came into our office and told Rick that Julie was in love with him. Later that fall, Rick and I along with Gordon Mayforth who was also a coach in the Sports Performance program drove down to South Bend to watch a Notre Dame volleyball match to see Julie play. Julie met the three of us on the quad and looked at us all and said “Rick, do you want to come and see my room?” Clearly, Gordon and I were not invited so we ended up going to the Notre Dame bookstore while Rick went with Julie to see her room.

  • Also in the fall of 1988, Julie invited Rick to attend a Notre Dame Football game with her father.
  • Julie left Notre Dame after one semester to join the USA National team in San Diego, California. In the spring of 1989 Julie called the office one day when Rick was out to lunch. She asked me if I would ask Rick if he would come to Canada to watch her play, since she thought she was going to get to start in a match against Cuba. Rick left later that day with a couple of other coaches to go to Canada to watch Julie play.
  • During the summer of 1989 Julie invited Rick out to San Diego to watch her train with the USA National team. While he was there she invited him over to her apartment. She also cashed a check for him during that time period.

  • In December of 1989, a Christmas card came to the office from Julie with her name and California address on the front and the words “I miss you” written on the back of the envelope.
  • In December of 1989, Julie returned from California and attended the Sports Performance Christmas party and brought her boyfriend from California whose name was Kevin. She was telling the girls at the party that she thought he was going to propose to her in the near future. I found that strange since she spent almost the entire time at the party talking to Rick and gave him a note asking if they could see each other while she was home.
  • On Christmas day, 1989 I was at Rick’s house and the phone rang. It was Julie calling to ask Rick if he would meet her at the gym for training. It seemed a little strange that she wanted to practice volleyball on Christmas day. Remember, she’s calling the guy who she now says had sexually abused her two and a half years earlier and she’s asking him to meet her alone to train on Christmas day.
  • Later after Rick and I started seeing each other on a more serious basis, Julie, who was living in California at the time, would still call Rick late at night.

All the instances above clearly helped shape my opinion regarding Julie’s allegations since I was there at the time and witnessed her behavior firsthand. But, by far the most important thing to me was when in 1991 Rick showed me the drawer full letters, cards and gifts. Julie had written dozens of notes, cards and letters to him over the years. Many were postmarked from Notre Dame and later San Diego after Julie went on to play for the National team. Some of the letters were 10-15 pages long. She talked about everything in those letters. How much she cared about Rick, her dreams for volleyball, even her sexual fantasies! Not once in the 60-70 notes, cards and letters was there any mention that she had ever been mistreated by Rick in any way or that she had anything but the greatest amount of respect for him.

Page 20: Bonnie, Julie’s Younger Sister

Most people don’t know that Julie Bremner’s younger sister Bonnie, played for Rick in 1995 and 1996, AFTER Julie had made the allegations in 1994. In the spring of 1994 after Julie had started making allegations, Rick and I met with Bonnie’s (and Julie’s) mother & father in our home. They were both adamant about the fact that they wanted Bonnie to stay in the program and they trusted Rick 100% to be her coach. To this day Rick and Bonnie have a great relationship and she has been extremely supportive of him throughout this entire time period.


Page 21: Rick’s Polygraph Re: Julie


Page 22: Nancy Reno

The one crystal clear fact regarding this issue is how much people’s stories have changed over the past 30 years. I am amazed at the way people have twisted the actual facts from the 1980’s. Over the past couple years Nancy Reno, Sports Performance alum (1984) has come out in the media and blasted Rick. She makes no claims of ever being abused, just what a horrible person Rick was, etc….. Of course she doesn’t mention in the press that after graduating from Stanford, she moved back to Illinois and asked Rick if he would train her to prepare for her tryout with the U.S. National Team. Here’s a letter written by Nancy Reno 5-6 years after leaving the Sports Performance program and after she graduated from Stanford.


Page 23: USAV Complaint Against Rick


On December 11, 2017, Rick was banned for life by USA Volleyball for violating a “protective order”.

In late December of 2016 Rick received a certified letter from USA Volleyball. Inside was a complaint against Rick that USAV was going to immediately suspend him and start proceedings to ban him. All the allegations contained in the complaint were from the 1980’s, for harsh coaching, inappropriate language, having the players weigh-in before practice (a pretty common occurrence in the 1980’s) and then an allegation from 1983, from the daughter of Rick’s former partner Kay Rogness who was never a volleyball player. Not only was USA Volleyball going back 30+ years, they were completely going against the terms that they had agreed to when Rick was reinstated in December of 2000.



Page 24: USAV Reinstatement Letters

Here is what USAV Board President Lori Okimura had said to the New York Daily News as recently as 2016.

New York Daily News
Tuesday, July 5, 2016, 11:35 PM

“USA Volleyball members renew their memberships through one of 40 regions every fall”, Okimura says, and applications are renewed as long as there have been no serious complaints about a coach or administrator the previous year. Membership, she said, “would not be denied based on allegations made in the 1980s or 1990s.”

  • Rick immediately took and passed a polygraph tests regarding the allegations.
  • On the advice of our attorney’s, he filed suit against USA Volleyball for injunctive relief to prevent them from immediately suspending and then banning him. It should be noted that the Sports Performance girl’s teams have not been to a USA Volleyball event since 2007. The only reason Rick continued each year to renew his USAV membership was to be available to assist any of our boy’s teams who might need a coach at a tournament at the last minute. That had happened exactly once over the past 10 years.
  • In January Rick filed suit against USA Volleyball. USA Volleyball requested that the complaint be “impounded” so the public wouldn’t see it and the identities of the complainants would be kept private. Rick’s attorneys did not object, so it was assumed that the complaint was hidden from public view. Over the next 10 months the USAV Complaint would be amended several times from the original complaint with several allegations from the first complaint being removed.
  • By the fall of 2017 there was still no hearing date set and USA Volleyball refused to give Rick’s attorneys anything they were asking for in regards to how the allegations had been investigated.
  • Individuals who were unaware that they were referred to in the USAV complaint, were actually scheduled to appear as witnesses for Rick at the hearing which was to be held in the Chicagoland area. In the fall of 2017 Rick had a witness list of about 40 people that were going to be called once a hearing date was established. Many of the witnesses were former players of Rick’s who were actually in the gym during the 1980’s. Once he submitted his witness list, the hearing was moved to Denver, Colorado. This meant that those 40 witnesses would not be appearing at the hearing in his defense. Having all those former players testify would have been a key for Rick, since so much of the complaint centered on how abusive he was as a coach in the 1980’s and many of those former players had been on Rick’s team during that time period.
  • Then in early November, everything changed. A Chicago newspaper reporter had been working on a story since late summer and had seemed to be tipped off about the lawsuit between Rick and USA Volleyball. Somehow the reporter got a copy of the original complaint from USA Volleyball, although it had been amended a number of times by the time the reporter called. It appears that the DuPage County circuit court clerk had failed to impound the entire complaint. The reporter interviewed at least one of the accusers in the complaint, who went on the record in the story, even though her name was supposed to be anonymous and she was supposed to be “protected” from any publicity.
  • The reporter called Rick’s attorney and asked him if Rick had any comment regarding the allegations from the accuser, who had already given an interview for the story. Since the accuser had already gone public for the story, Rick issued a written denial regarding allegations by the accuser.
  • Once the story was published, USA Volleyball moved almost immediately to ban Rick for violating the protective order, even though it had been one of the accusers who had talked to the press about this issue in the first place. This is the same week that a DuPage County circuit court judge had stated that it was no fault of Ricks that the entire complaint had not been impounded.
  • On Friday, December 8th, USA Volleyball held a telephonic hearing before the Ethics and Eligibility Committee regarding Rick’s alleged violation of the protective order. I went to be a witness for Rick since I knew that the people who had made the allegations against Rick had been on social media for months and years prior to any complaint being filed by USA Volleyball. Saying that Rick had “outed” these individuals to the public was an absolute false statement. USA Volleyball put a time limit on the hearing and I was never allowed to testify on Rick’s behalf. Imagine a hearing being held by phone, where the subject of the hearing was banning someone for life and then one of the two witnesses for the defendant was not allowed to testify because the hearing panel ran out of time. On Monday, December 11th, Rick was informed that he had been banned for life from USA Volleyball for violating the “protective order” attached to the complaint.
  • Following the December 11th decision, we were informed that USA Volleyball still intended to hold the January 8th hearing in Colorado regarding the 2016 complaint. After meeting with our attorney’s Rick and I decided that there was absolutely no reason to spend thousands of dollars to fly our attorney’s and our key witnesses to Colorado for the second hearing when that hearing meant nothing since Rick had already been banned for life for violating the protective order.
  • Following all of this, our attorney, who has pretty much seen it all stated that in his 44 years of practicing law, he had never dealt with anyone or anything like USA Volleyball. I think that statement pretty much says it all.

Between December 2016 and January 2018, USA Volleyball spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees and other expenses to ban Rick for life, twice, when he had not attended a USAV event since 2007 and was not even a member of USA Volleyball when he was banned. Recently one official said it best…..”USA Volleyball got their payback with Rick for the success of the JVA (Junior Volleyball Association) and the growth of the AAU Jr. Championships into the largest junior volleyball tournament in the world.” For the past 10 years USA Volleyball has blamed Rick for the founding and the growth of the JVA, even thought there were over 30 other clubs involved at each of the first two meetings held in Chicago in 2006. Then when the JVA and AAU partnered together in 2010, the AAU Jr. National championship exploded into an event which annually has over 2,000 teams in attendance.

AAU / JVA Expulsions & Suspensions

On February 8th AAU moved to ban Rick from coaching. The next day the JVA did the same thing by suspending him indefinitely. Rick will appeal the AAU ban. The JVA had said earlier that they would do whatever AAU did in regards to Rick’s participation, even though the JVA is not a membership organization and has no by-laws for disciplining or suspending the people who take part in events insured by the organization.


Kay and Sarah say they are just trying to protect the players who play in our program. A program they have not been involved with in close to 30 years or more. I have been with Sports Performance for over 30 years and other than the allegations against Rick that go back to the 1980, there has not been a single complaint for any type of sexual misconduct filed against any of our coaches or staff. We have extremely comprehensive and protective policies and guidelines in place for practice as well as when teams are on the road at tournaments.

This issue is really about the total destruction of another person as well as an attempt to destroy his business and force him out of the sport that he has given almost 40 years of his life to. These individuals know exactly what they are doing. We carry a $4.2 mil mortgage on our facility. We have 15 full-time and close to 100 part-time employees. Many of those employees have families and small children they are supporting with the salaries and the insurance we provide them along with the 401K retirement plans that we also have in place for our full-time staff members. Kay’s goal is to destroy everything that Rick and I have built over the past three decades. It has absolutely nothing to do with protecting anyone! It’s pretty clear that the families in the Sports Performance program don’t feel the need to be protected by Kay Rogness or anyone else. They are perfectly capable of making up their own minds about the programs that their children participate in.

  • Kay Rogness was a 10 year partner and also involved in a physical relationship with Rick the entire time she now says she was witnessing the abuse. She lied to the DCFS about her reason for leaving the Sports Performance program. In the late 1980’s, even after moving to Colorado to attend law school, she was assigning Rick and 21 year old Christine Brigman to work at the same volleyball camps. Even though now she now claims that she knew that Rick had sexually abused Christine back in 1984. After that she didn’t seem to see Rick as a threat to anyone since she rented her home to him through the summer of 1991, all the time knowing that he was coaching junior girls. Then in 1995 Rogness attempted to interfere with the adoption of our new born baby, which revealed everything about what her motives have been all along.
  • Rick directly addressed the allegation by Kay’s daughter in his January, 2017 polygraph tests in which he was determined to be truthful in all his answers.
  • The documents from 1989 make it clear that Rogness was asked to leave the Sports Performance program and was clearly not happy when that happened. Then Kay leased her house to Rick following the end of the partnership. I’m not sure how anyone finds Kay Rogness believable. Does Rogness running a national qualifier, which makes her a business partner of USA Volleyball, make it OK to ignore the facts that have been presented in this statement?
  • When I was first hired full-time at Sports Performance, Kay was training me and she made it clear to me that she was the brains behind the success of Sports Performance and that Rick was primarily just a good coach in the gym. I found out pretty quickly that Rick was far more than just a good volleyball coach. For the past 25 years I’ve watched Kay Rogness and her agenda bully people. This issue for Rogness has never been about protecting anyone; it’s about revenge and trying to destroy Rick and me. Look at all the years that she was with Rick and look at how she reacted when she was asked to leave and the depths that she sunk to in her attempt to damage us.
  • Sarah Powers left the Sports Performance program for four years and then in 1987, as a 22 year old woman she voluntarily took a semester off of college to move back to Chicago to play for the same man that she now says traumatized her in 1981 to the point that she is not able to be at the same tournament with him. Yet, that didn’t seem to be an issue before she filed the lawsuit against AAU.
  • Christine Brigman last played for Rick in 1984 and then didn’t even live in the same state for another five to six years. Yet several years later she was writing letters to him picking out the names of their children and signing her last name “Butler”. She was asking him for money to pay for her college apartment and also inviting him to come to Los Angeles and spend holidays with her. She was also attending Rick’s family parties, when Rick wasn’t even in attendance. Six years after she had last played for him, I was personally taking calls from her at the office, asking him to lunch.
  • Julie Bremner made allegations against Rick in 1994 and then her younger sister stayed in the Sports Performance program and played for Rick in 1995 & 1996 and still remains in contact with him today. Julie alleges that she was sexually abused in 1987, but two years later when she was in college, she was writing Rick letters that I read with my own eyes, discussing her own sexual fantasies! After that the calls and letters kept coming, even after Rick and I had started a relationship.

I have known Rick for over 30 years. He is a very good man who has helped literally thousands of young females pursue their dreams and grow into talented and strong young women. In all the years I have known Rick; I have never once seen him turn down a request to help someone. He has mentored hundreds of coaches and given of himself selflessly. We have had a number of players live in our home and those people today look at Rick as their second father. It’s a shame and very sad that our society has gotten to the point where personal destruction of another person has become sport for some people. Social media and the internet provide an avenue for the total destruction of another human being, merely based on allegations that are oftentimes not remotely as they are portrayed. People are banned from organizations based merely on allegations that are 30 years old. We are quickly becoming a society of “guilty before proven innocent”. Rick will be the first to admit that he made some poor decisions when he was much younger. He was very open and honest with me when we first started a serious relationship in 1991. Since the time we have been together he has been a loving husband and father, as well as a great business partner and an even better friend. His legacy will be the thousands of young people whose lives were positively impacted through their experience and time spent with him.

Rick Butler’s Statement

Over my past 35 years of coaching, I have tried my hardest to give every player that I coached the absolute best chance to reach his or her potential. Looking back I know that my passion and my pursuit of excellence was not always easy for my players because of the high standards that were always in place. When I first started coaching in 1982 I approached the task just as I did when I was a collegiate football player. My work ethic was very strong and I took great pride in my own daily training regimen and the ability to work long hours at the highest level possible. To me that was normal. I had never coached volleyball before, much less coached girls, but I was determined that I was going to treat my players like athletes first and never make excuses because they were females. In the early 1980’s that was indeed a strange concept.

There was never a time when I wouldn’t have done anything to give each and every player the best opportunity to succeed. Over the past three decades I have had countless players tell me that as adults, their lives are guided daily by the lessons and values they learned playing at Sports Performance. To me, hearing those words is far better than any championship I’ve ever won. I’ve had the pleasure to coach and train well over 20,000 players in my career and I take great pride in the success that so many of those players have had after they left the Sports Performance program.

In 1994 some very serious allegations were made against me from the 1980’s. While the 1980’s were a completely different time and era in the sport of volleyball and life in general, with no rules or guidelines regarding the coaching profession, there is no question that I could have used better judgment in my early years of coaching. Since 1994 these allegations have been twisted and the truth distorted with a great deal of false information. The motive behind the false information and lies that have been spread must be questioned.

My wife Cheryl and I have been together 27 years and married for 24 of those years. During that time our greatest accomplishment is raising a wonderful child who has grown into an even better adult. During the past 25 years we have had numerous players live in our home and we treated each one of them as if they were our own daughters. We have always tried to be as helpful as possible to any player, coach, club director or parent who asked for our guidance. We have mentored hundreds of young coaches and dozens of club directors along the way. We take pride in the success of our alumni as if they were our own children. Anyone who has ever played for Sports Performance will tell you that first and foremost, we are a family and as a family we will continue to chase perfection on a daily basis and along the way handle any challenges that come our way with resolve and a clear sense of purpose.