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Coach sues ex-player's family for defamation

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Illinois

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois high school softball coach has filed a defamation lawsuit against the parents of a former player who circulated a letter accusing the coach of abuse.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1kJlNqW) Katherine Walsh, a physical education teacher at O'Fallon Township High School, is seeking more than $700,000 in damages from Patricia and James Cavins of O'Fallon.

The lawsuit filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court on May 9 alleges an email the parents sent to faculty, administrators, athletes and others caused harm to Walsh's professional and personal reputation.

With the email was a letter Alexi Cavins wrote to Walsh in which she said she was "mentally abused, intimidated and bullied" by O'Fallon's softball coaching staff.

Attorney Bill Stiehl says the defendants intend to "vigorously" contest the lawsuit.

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