Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Former Olympian says she was sexually assaulted by former USA Swimming coach

Olympian Ariana Kukors Accuses Former Coach Sean Hutchison of Sexual Abuse Former Olympian says she was sexually assaulted by former USA Swimming coach
Shannon Reynolds | 09 February, 2018, 07:38

US world champion swimmer Ariana Kukors accused her former coach Sean Hutchison of sexually abusing her while she was a teenager, and authorities discovered thousands of explicit pictures of his trainee stored on his computer.

Investigators from the Department of Homeland Security searched Hutchinson's Seattle apartment on Tuesday recovering electronic devices they say may contain evidence that he exploited swimmers that he coached, according to the Post-Intelligencer. Per the retired Olympian's attorneys, the investigators seized computers and phones for examination purposes.

Law enforcement also conducted searches of warehouses in California and Florida.

Kukors, the 2009 world champion in the 200m individual medley who placed fifth in that event in the 2012 Olympics, said she came forward to empower other victims. Court documents say she told authorities that he also took thousands of sexually explicit photographs of her when she was a minor and groomed her for abuse when she was 13.

Mendoza is representing Kukors along with San Jose attorney Bob Allard. Swimming had been given notice in 2010 about the inappropriate coach-athlete relationship but had done nothing.

That same year, coach Sean Hutchison faced an investigation over his ties to Kukors, but it was closed with no misconduct found. USA Swimming said Thursday that it learned of the underage abuse allegations this week.

Nassar was recently sentenced to decades in prison in a case that led to a reckoning for the gymnastics governing body, with top executives resigning and the entire board of directors planning to step down as requested by the U.S. Olympic Committee. She competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Later in 2009 he was named coach of a elite US national team training group in conjunction with the Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team that worked out at the Janet Evans Swim Complex.

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Kukors, who swam one year at the University of Washington, joined Hutchison at FAST. But while his methods were new age, he insisted in a 2010 interview with the Orange County Register that his values were definitely old school.

Hutchison said in a statement to the New York Times the accusations were not true.

"I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough", Kukors, 28, told the Register. And however it worked out 15 years ago this seemed to be the best venue for me to do that. "Prior to that time, I did nothing to "groom" her". I mean I'm with them 20-something hours a week.

Allard, Kukors' lawyer, said USA Swimming failed to protect the swimmer. "He focuses a lot on the mental side of it, about life, not just about a sport, about becoming great people, not just great swimmers, that your identity is not just about what you do in the pool", she said.

But Hutchison abruptly resigned his position in late 2010 after rumors emerged that he and Kukors were romantically involved. It said it was notified in January of a case against Hutchison filed with the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Kukors is alleging their relationship began when she was a minor, and was the result of predation and manipulation from Hutchison.

USA Swimming has since commented on the controversy as they confirmed that there was an investigation into the rumored relationship between Hutchison and Kukors. She spent much of her career being coached by Sean Hutchinson.

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