US Olympic swimmer accuses coach of abuse


Investigators have searched the Seattle home of a former U.S. Olympic Team swimming coach amid allegations that he sexually abused and took explicit photos of an underage athlete.

In a statement emailed to Teen Vogue, Hutchinson denied the allegations via his lawyer, Brad Meryhew. "I was able to leave a terrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself".

I've realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten.

Hutchison's swimming club, the King Aquatic Club in Washington state, said in a statement the news "broke our collective hearts".

However, Hoelzer said Hutchison was partly why she retired in 2010.

"At no time did I ever abuse Ariana Kukors or do anything with her that was not consensual", Hutchison said in the statement obtained by SwimSwam, a swimming news site. "I absolutely deny having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself".

"Prior to that time, I did nothing to 'groom" her.

'I deeply regret that she would make these wild allegations all these years later'.

Kukors was a world champion and world record holder in the 200-meter intermediate medley in 2009 and won a world title in 2010 in the short-course 100-meter intermediate medley. She made the 2012 Olympic team and while she was away from him, claims he acted protective and manipulative.

Marc Schubert, who is now the head coach for a Mission Viejo swim club, told CBS Los Angeles that he had heard rumors of a relationship between Kukors, who was then 21, and Hutchison, who was 39, and told his boss to look into it. He didn't coach, but he and Kukors openly lived together in Seattle while she was in her early 20s. The swim club did not return CNN's message requesting comment.

Kukors said she came to the realization of the abuse after undergoing therapy. They also said USA Swimming knew eight years ago that Hutchison "was involved in an inappropriate coach-athlete relationship".

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In her piece, which a representative confirmed, Kukors wrote that when she reached "the pinnacle of her sport" by qualifying for the 2012 Olympic team, she was petrified of how Hutchison would react. The criticism grew from the emotionally charged sentencing hearings for Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse past year. It said it was notified in January of a case against Hutchison filed with the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Mike Saltzstein, former vice president of USA Swimming who previously complained about the organization's handling of sexual abuse cases, questioned the thoroughness of the organization's 2010 investigation.

"Over the last several years, Ariana has worked with USA Swimming as on-camera talent in its digital productions and has truly become a member of the family", the organization said.

"We stand by her, and all other victims, in their quest to break their silence and confront their horrific experiences", the statement said.

Kukors alleges the inappropriate contact began as back rubs in hotel rooms when their team traveled to swim meets.

In response to Hutchison's statement, Robert Allard, one of Kukors" lawyers, said: "Ariana was groomed and manipulated as a minor by her trusted swim coach.

She said that when she returned home, her swimming career was over and she joined him in Seattle, "where he locked me away on the 21st floor", only allowing her to come and go when he wanted, because he was paranoid of the rumors of their relationship.

"There were definitely times where there would be meetings [between Kukors and Hutchison] to go over racing strategy and things like that and they probably should have been in a more public place and they weren't, " former Olympic medalist Megan Jendrick, 34 told the Seattle Times.

She wrote Friday that she and Hutchison didn't have intercourse before she turned 18.

Kukors said in a statement on Wednesday she came forward because she was anxious Hutchinson may still be abusing children. After practice one day when she was 15, he asked about her underwear and started kissing and touching her, Kukors writes.