By City News Service
Two women who allege they were sexually abused as children by the late horse trainer Jimmy Williams have settled the part of their consolidated lawsuit against the U.S. Equestrian Federation and USA Equestrian Trust Inc.
Attorneys for Gigi Gaston and retired Los Angeles Police officer Julie Boyer filed court papers on Wednesday with Burbank Superior Court Judge Frank M. Tavelman notifying him of the accord. No terms were divulged.
The resolution leaves the Flintridge Riding Club as the remaining defendant in the case. The club is located in La Cañada Flintridge and is where Williams worked as a trainer and allegedly abused many underage victims before dying in 1993.
Club attorneys maintain that the plaintiffs’ claims, among other things, are barred by the statute of limitations. But the plaintiffs’ lawyers argue that the statute of limitations was extended under the 2019 California Child Victims Act.
Boyer maintains that all of the defendants were negligent for not protecting her from abuse. She was a student at the club between 1974 and 1976. She alleges Williams began to abuse her when she arrived at age 15 and continued until she departed.
Boyer has suffered mental and economic damages, her lawsuit filed in May 2021 alleges.
Gaston’s lawsuit was filed in August 2020 and states that she was 12 years old when she began training at the club.
“Ms. Gaston (was) excited and eager to train like an Olympian at what was widely considered to be the finest equestrian training facility on the West Coast,” her court papers stated.
Williams successfully created champion equestrian athletes at both the national and international level and it was considered an extraordinary privilege to be able to train with him, Gaston’s court papers state.
In order to be selected for Williams’ elite coaching, however, young female athletes were required to comply with his every order and endure his repeated sexual assaults, Gaston’s court papers allege.
“If a minor athlete fought back against Williams’ sexual advances, Williams had the power to withhold the best horses and best training from that young athlete, derailing their entire equestrian career,” according to Gaston’s court papers.
The Gaston and Boyer suits were consolidated in January 2022. Trial of their case is scheduled Feb. 13.
First published in the November 30 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.