Attorney Adam Horowitz announces the filing of a lawsuit in Polk County Circuit Court against Southeastern University after alleged sexual misconduct by Jem Sirrine, an athletic trainer employed by Southeastern University. The lawsuit alleges that the female plaintiff, a then 23-year-old assistant volleyball coach and student at Southeastern University, was subjected to sexual misconduct by the university’s athletic trainer. When she reported this incident to the head coach of the volleyball team and a representative from Human Resources, she was told that other similar incidents involving Jem Sirrine and a female athlete on the volleyball team had been previously reported to the university.
At the time of the incident, Jem Sirrine was a licensed as an Athletic Trainer by the Florida Department of Health. A Final Order of discipline was entered against Jem Sirrine on account of this incident, and on October 6, 2021, the athletic trainer surrendered his license as part of a disciplinary proceeding before the Board of Athletic Training. Jem Sirrine, age 46, had been a licensed athletic trainer in Florida since 2000 and re-located to Tennessee after the claims against him, according to public records.
According to the Complaint, on November 9, 2020, the 23-year-old Plaintiff injured her left quad muscle while playing volleyball at the university. Jem Sirrine, the athletic trainer on staff at the time, took the student to the training room and placed heat on her injury. Sirrine then insisted that the injured student undergo Neuromuscular Electronic Stimulation (STIM) treatment for her leg. The student alleges that they entered the training room, and Sirrine instructed her to get on the bed with her feet facing the wall and her head facing the door. She reports Sirrine then stuck his hand inside her spandex and moved the spandex and her underwear to the side, exposing her vagina. Sirrine allegedly placed the STIM pad nowhere close to the injury site and then claimed the machine wasn’t working. Sirrine then removed the STIM pad and exposed the student’s vagina for the second time. When the student attempted to exit the room, Sirrine was sitting in a “provocative” manner, possibly aroused. During this encounter, the Head Athletic Trainer, Jem Sirrine’s manager, came into the room but failed to take any action to stop Sirrine, despite the open and obvious nature of Sirrine’s misconduct. The above-referenced sexual contacts were unwanted, offensive, and without consent.
The following morning, the plaintiff reported the incident of sexual misconduct in the workplace to her immediate supervisor and athletic director. At that time, she learned that Southeastern University had a previous complaint of sexual misconduct by Sirrine and possessed knowledge of a series of similar incidents of sexual misconduct over a period of weeks by Sirrine in which he made unwanted and unauthorized sexual contact with a female volleyball player’s genital area and underwear in the training room. the lawsuit alleges that Southeastern University failed to take appropriate action to protect the plaintiff and other students from the known threat posed by Sirrine, thus allowing sexual harassment and sexual assault to occur.
The Plaintiff in the lawsuit is represented by sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz in Fort Lauderdale and co-counsel Brad Rothman of Weldon & Rothman in Naples. Attorney Adam Horowitz stated, “There have been several high-profile cases involving health care professionals making unwanted sexual contact with athletes in recent years — most notably Dr. Larry Nassar of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. It is reckless for a university not to take every precaution to prevent sexual misconduct when they receive a complaint about one of its employees. This assault was entirely preventable if Southeastern University took basic and fundamental safety measures.”
Horowitz Law has handled numerous sexual misconduct claims on behalf of students and athletes. If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct by Jem Sirrine or have any knowledge about such events at Southeastern University, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz today.