As first reported by TMZ.com Wednesday, Nashville Predators center Mike Ribeiro is being sued for more than $1 million in damages by a nanny he and his wife employed in Texas for an alleged sexual assault and for threats made against her in 2012.
Full details of the lawsuit were not immediately released, but Larry Friedman, the attorney for the woman behind the lawsuit, told The Associated Press Thursday she'd been sexually assaulted by Ribeiro shortly after graduating from high school and when Ribeiro had been playing for the Dallas Stars. The young woman said she didn't alert the authorities because she was "terrified". And Ribeiro's wife, Tamara, is alleged in the suit to have "made inappropriate comments and/or threats" to her.
"My client was and is a young girl," Friedman said, "and no young girl should be subjected to that kind of behaviour, the kind of conduct by an adult that she's complaining about."
The lawsuit was filed July 24 in a Texas federal court. Ribeiro's attorney issued a statement Thursday indicating the family would strongly contest the allegations.
"I can say that the Ribeiros plan to vigorously fight this lawsuit," attorney Brian Lauten said. "At the same time, Mike will maintain his focus of doing all he can to help Nashville win its first-ever Stanley Cup."
The Predators say they have been made aware of the complaint.
"Mike has indicated that the charge is without merit and is prepared to vigorously defend himself," the team said in a statement. "We will allow the legal process to move forward without further comment."
The 35-year-old Ribeiro was released at the end of last season by the Arizona Coyotes, who bought out the final three years of his $22 million contract while he attempted to straighten out his now-public problems with drugs, alcohol and infidelity.
Predators officials have said in the past the organization did its due diligence on Ribeiro before signing him to a one-year, $1.05-million contract in the summer.