The Rays have cut ties with team doctor Michael Reilly, who’s worked with the franchise since its 1998 inaugural season, after a former employee at his private practice accused him of sexual abuse that began when she was a teenager.
After first being made aware of the accusation—which was shared in a YouTube video posted nearly two weeks ago—the team suspended Reilly. They announced today that he had been terminated, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which notes that there were no allegations against Reilly from Rays players or staff.
“This person is still active in the community. No one’s come forward. I know he’s done this to other people,” said the former private practice employee, who uploaded the video under the name Brianna Rah. “I finally thought, if I have to put my face out there, if it’s going to save another person from being sexually abused by this person, then so be it.”
Rah says that the abuse occurred over a period of time eight to ten years ago. She met Reilly through church and began babysitting for his children when she was 14, and he asked her to begin an after-school job at his private practice when she was 16. She said that he began following her into exam rooms when she went alone to clean them and would touch her, which made her uncomfortable and caused her to quit soon after.
“He would put his hand on my hand. He would just show up behind me; he would put his hand on my shoulder and lightly rub my back. And of course this was not in front of anyone,” she said in the video.
Eight months after she quit, Reilly called her and asked if she’d like to come back. Rah said that she figured she might have been dramatic in leaving so soon and decided to return. Reilly continued touching her in the same way that he’d been doing before, and “this time, it did progress.” She said that he repeatedly asked her to stay behind after the office closed to back up files on his computer. With everyone else gone, he would sit next to her for an hour or more each night.
“He wouldn’t really say anything, he would just touch me, and without really getting specific, it just got worse,” she said.
Rah described him as a father figure, noting that he knew she didn’t have a strong relationship with her dad. Reilly would ask her about her life, she said, reminding her to go to mass and keep her grades up. This continued even as his inappropriate touching progressed.
“I would leave and I would cry in my car, because I’d never been in a situation like this before... It’s easy listening to this and thinking, ‘well, you should’ve told your mother,’ or, ‘you should’ve told someone,’” she said. “If you’re in this situation, it’s different. Because you’re scared... you’re conflicted. In my case, I was conflicted because I had someone who was acting like a father to me and I was accepting the repercussion of being sexually inappropriate. And then there comes a point where you become numb to it and you get used to it. You get used to someone inappropriately touching to you. That’s what happened with me, and it just progressively got worse and worse.”
Rah said that she finally realized “the extent of what happened” once she’d gone away to college. She confronted Reilly over text message, asking why he’d sexually abused her, and she said he responded with, “I told you to stay away.”
Reilly also worked as a doctor for the Tampa Bay Lightning from 1992 to 2002.
Update (9:57 p.m. ET): Reilly has denied the allegations to the Tampa Bay Times. He claimed to have what he described as a consensual relationship with Rah once she was an adult.