It hasn’t been too long since Larry Nassar’s sentencing has been finalized and the Olympics is now facing another storm. Ariana Kukors, a 2012 Olympic swimmer, has accused a U.S. Olympic team coach of sexual harassment.
The former coach, Sean Hutchison, 46, is now being investigated by authorities after Kukors forwarded her case to the police. Kukors’ attorneys said in a news release Wednesday that the assault began when she was 16-years-old. According to the Washington Post, the investigation now involves Homeland Security, who have already searched Hutchison’s home in Seattle. Hutchison denies all allegations and he has not been charged with a crime yet. However, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted that local authorities have already confiscated electronic devices from his home, which may contain evidence.
Hutchison stays on his story and said that he and Kukors were actually in a relationship after the 2012 Olympics. Kukors then allegedly stayed at his Seattle home for more than a year. For Hutchison, everything they did was “consensual” and he denies having a sexual relationship with Kukors before she was legally able to make “decisions for herself.”
Kukors wanted to bring justice to her case so she could tell a bigger story. She acknowledges that there’s a big problem in the Olympics system and that there are very few measures put in place to protect young male and female athletes. Being away from home and their families, Olympic athletes spend years with their coaches, cooped up in training facilities all over the world.
The 29-year-old swimmer said in the release that Hutchison “kissed” and “touched” her when she was 16 and the coach “engaged in sexual activity” with her when she was 17 at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Victoria, British Columbia, ESPN reports.
Robert Allard, Kukors’ attorney, looked at the comparison in Nassar’s case. He said that there were already red flags raised and that the USA Swimming has already noticed inappropriate “coach-athlete relationship with Ariana and took no actions to protect her or other swimmers.”
Mike Saltzstein, a former VP of USA Swimming, said he’s deeply disappointed of the news. Saltzstein said there was an investigation back in 2010, but it was closed “so quickly.”
“Now with the benefit of hindsight and time, one would have to question whether there was any integrity to the first time they did this investigation,” he said.
Kukors’ Olympic medalist teammate, Margaret Hoelzer, said she never heard of Hutchison sexually abusing anybody, but there were “rumors” about Kukors’ and Hutchison’s relationship. Hoelzer said the coach was “emotionally and verbally abusive.” Though it seems like Hutchison “formalized” their relationship with Kukors hit a legal age, Hoelzer said she hoped she could see the possibility that this could have started earlier
Kukors said that aside from her own personal justice, she is also doing this to empower other victims.
“I never thought I would share my story because I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself,” Kukors said in a statement. “But in time, I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten.”
She calls out to young boys and girls who think their future only lies on the hands of powerful, manipulative figures in their lives.
“That they may not have to go through the same pain, trauma, horror and abuse. That their parents, mentors and guardians are better able to spot the signs of grooming and realize its tragic consequences before it’s too late.”