Mike Ribeiro's former nanny in Texas is suing the Predators centre for assaulting her and suing his wife for threatening her in 2012.
The lawsuit contains no specific details except alleging Ribeiro caused "body injury" when he acted "intentionally, knowingly and recklessly." Her attorney Larry Friedman told The Associated Press on Thursday that his client was sexually assaulted by Ribeiro soon after she had graduated from high school, though she did not immediately go to authorities because she was "terrified."
"My client was and is a young girl, and no young girl should be subjected to that kind of behaviour, the kind of conduct by an adult that she's complaining about," Friedman said.
The woman also alleges Ribeiro's wife "made inappropriate comments and/or threats." She is seeking over $1 million US in damages along with other relief. The lawsuit was filed July 24 and now is in federal court in Texas.
TMZ first reported on the lawsuit Wednesday.
Ribeiro's attorney issued a statement Thursday saying he wouldn't discuss the facts around the allegations publicly.
"I can say that the Ribeiros plan to vigorously fight this lawsuit," attorney Brian Lauten wrote. "At the same time, Mike will maintain his focus of doing all he can to help Nashville win its first-ever Stanley Cup."
Friedman said Ribeiro was between his stint with the Dallas Stars and the Washington Capitals at the time of the alleged incident.
The Predators said in a statement they have been made aware of the complaint that dates back to when Ribeiro played in Dallas.
"Mike has indicated that the charge is without merit and is prepared to vigorously defend himself," the statement said. "We will allow the legal process to move forward without further comment."
The AP does not generally identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse.
Ribeiro was released last year by the Coyotes, who bought out the final three years of his $22 million US contract. General manager Don Maloney said then that Ribeiro had "real behavioural issues" they couldn't tolerate.
The forward has said he went to work on his personal life after that season. He and his wife came to Nashville together, even paying for their own airfare, before signing with the Predators.
Nashville officials said in July that they did their homework, including talking to Ribeiro's wife, before signing him to a one-year, $1.05 US million deal.
Now Ribeiro leads Nashville with 40 assists, also ninth overall in the NHL going into Thursday. He leads the Predators' forwards averaging 18 minutes, 45 seconds of ice time and also is tied for first with 52 points.