Parents sue over steroid scandal
DONALDSONVILLE - Parents filed a lawsuit against their child's former powerlifting coach and the school system after their 15-year-old was exposed to steroids unknowingly.
The parents, whose child was on the Donaldsonville High team last year, claim Curtis Tsuruda knowingly gave their child the steroid Methandienone but disguised the doses as protein pills.
Last year, deputies charged Tsuruda with possession with intent to distribute in a criminal case related to the allegations. The family filed its lawsuit Tuesday.
"At first I couldn't figure what was wrong, but then I realized what he was on and I realized the problem," the child's mother told WBRZ News 2 in an exclusive interview. "To do this to a child or minor, and especially my child, I couldn't believe that. It was just heartbreaking."
The parents asked not to be identified by name.
The child's mother said she found the pills and consulted her other son, a doctor, who confirmed the truth behind what the pill were.
The family claims the child suffered mental, emotional and psychological problems due to the steroids.
"[The coach] was promoting himself, not my child because, it was going to make him look good," the mother said.
"The student couldn't believe it. He could not believe that the coach had given him steroids under the pretense that they were protein pills," the family's attorney, Andre Gauthier, said.
Gauthier claims the school system neglected to catch the problem and protect children.
Tsuruda's resume includes work as the Director of Strength and Conditioning at Tulane and as an assistant in the same field at LSU.
"You've got to ask yourself, 'What happened to this man? Why did he leave the collegiate ranks and end up at this high school? What was going on with the background check? How was he vetted? Who did they talk to?' And these will be things that I'll find the answers to as this litigation progression," Gauthier said.
Tsuruda and Ascension Parish Schools both declined to talk about the litigation against them.
Next month Tsuruda is scheduled to be in court on the criminal charges against him.