Lawsuit Alleges Former Sumner Basketball Coach Sexually Abused Minor
By Angelica Relente | Follow this link to access the online article
A second family has sued a former Sumner High School varsity basketball coach.
The family alleges Jacob “Jake” Jackson sexually abused and harassed a boy he met at a Sumner Basketball Academy event.
They filed the lawsuit Feb. 27 in Pierce County Superior Court against Jackson and Sterling Athletics. The News Tribune reported in October about a similar lawsuit filed against Jackson by another family. That family made similar allegations. Both families are represented by attorney Loren Cochran of the Cochran Douglas law firm.
Jackson began coaching at Sumner High in 2016. He is no longer employed by the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District, as of September. The district put him on administrative leave Aug. 31, around the same time the city first announced an investigation was happening, and later said in a statement that he no longer worked there.
Jackson has not been arrested or charged with a crime as of March 7.
The attorney representing Jackson in both lawsuits is Brett Purtzer from the Hester Law Group. Purtzer said he didn’t have any comment about the lawsuit filed Feb. 27.
City and Sumner Police Department spokesperson Carmen Palmer wrote in an email: “the case is still very much an active, ongoing criminal investigation.”
Adam Faber, spokesperson for the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, wrote in an email they are aware an investigation is in progress, but it hasn’t made it to their office.
“My expectation is that it won’t be referred here until the investigation is complete,” Faber said. “We will review it for a charging decision when we receive it.”
Cochran said waiting for the criminal investigation to finish as well as the prosecuting attorney’s charging decision is “very difficult” for the families he’s representing.
“It gets really hard for the survivors of child abuse and their families to sit around and wait for the process to work its way through,” Cochran said.
The complaint filed Feb. 27 alleges the boy suffered and continues to suffer “extreme emotional distress, personal anguish, fear, humiliation, pain and suffering” as a result of what Jackson did. The lawsuit said Jackson is the CEO of Sterling Athletics, and that the Puyallup company manufactures and sells sports balls, equipment and clothing. The lawsuit, which identifies the boy as John Doe 3, said that he met Jackson in the summer of 2021, between ninth and tenth grade. The complaint gives this account of what happened: Jackson saw the boy play basketball at the Sumner Basketball Academy event, which Sterling Athletics helped sponsor. Jackson reached out to him afterward through Instagram. Jackson allegedly “began communicating extensively” with the boy through Instagram, Snapchat and text messages. Jackson allegedly asked for and sent sexually explicit photos on Snapchat.
Around the same time, Jackson gave the boy free basketball equipment, shoes and apparel. He asked the boy if he’d be interested in working at the company warehouse. The boy accepted the offer. Jackson would pick up the boy from his house in the morning and drop him off at the end of the day. The lawsuit alleges there were times he would expose himself to the boy on the way to and from work. He would also pay the boy “a very high hourly rate,” the complaint alleges. Jackson eventually invited the boy to his house to help with yard work, according to the lawsuit. The boy allegedly felt pressured to comply and was afraid of the repercussions if he declined, so he agreed to help.
The lawsuit said there was a time Jackson called the boy into his house, and the boy allegedly found him masturbating on a couch. There was also a time Jackson called the boy into a guest bedroom and told him to look at the shoes in his closet. When the boy turned around, Jackson allegedly exposed himself and told the boy he needed to do the same if he wanted to leave the closet. Then Jackson allegedly masturbated in front of the boy. Jackson allegedly continued to reach out to the boy over the next school year, sending and asking for sexually explicit photos. Jackson normalized this behavior and told the boy it was “commonplace” for boys his age, according to the lawsuit. He also normalized sending personal messages such as “Love you,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleges the boy’s parents, identified in the complaint as John Doe 4 and Jane Doe 2, underwent “parental grief, mental anguish and suffering” from what happened to their son.
This story was originally published March 13, 2023, 5:00 AM.