Former world champion swimmer Ariana Kukors Smith claims she was sexually molested by her coach when she was a teenager and says USA Swimming acted to cover it up.
According to a CNN report, Smith filed a lawsuit in California Monday naming her former coach, Sean Hutchinson, and USA Swimming alleging sexual abuse of a minor, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Smith, now, 28, says Hutchinson kissed, fondled and performed oral sex on her in 2006 when she was just 16. They had sexual intercourse for the first time when she was 18, according the suit. She also accused him of taking nude photos of her when she was a minor.
Hutchinson reportedly denied the allegations back in January, saying that he and Smith were in a committed relationship after the 2012 Olympics that lasted more than a year.
“I absolutely deny having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself,” he said through his attorney. “Prior to that time, I did nothing to ‘groom’ her.”
The lawsuit also contends that USA Swimming, the governing body for competitive swimming in the United States, manipulated internal background screenings to omit complaints or negative references for Hutchison and other coaches, creating a culture in which it claims “pedophile coaches” such as Hutchison were given cover to abuse young athletes.