Former Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors claims coach sexually abused her
SEATTLE - Former U.S. Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors claims she was sexually abused by her former swim coach, Sean Hutchison, who lives in Seattle.
In a statement released Wednesday through her attorney, Kukors said he began "grooming" her when she was 13, while he was her coach at the King Aquatic Club in Seattle. She said he sexually abused her at age 16.
Kukors, an Auburn native, was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.
She reported the abuse to Des Moines police last month, who began their investigation into the claims dating back to 2002.
Kukors, now 28, said the abuse continued until she turned 18 in 2007.
Hutchison has denied the allegations. He denied "having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself" and did nothing to groom her, according to The Associated Press.
In a statement released through his attorney on Thursday, Hutchison said that at no time did he ever abuse Kukors or do anything with her that was not consensual, according to The Associated Press.
Investigators contacted the King County Prosecutor's Office after reviewing the information.
The Prosecutor's Office then notified Homeland Security, due to some of the potential crimes occurring outside Washington State.
Court documents show investigators searched Hutchison's's apartment in Seattle on Tuesday and recovered several electronic devices.
Her attorney said Kukors hopes to empower other potential victims to come forward.
USA Swimming released a statement that offered support for Kukors and said it was notified this month about a Center for Safe Sport case involving Hutchison. The Center for Safe Sport is a national, nonprofit organization providing education, resources and training to promote respect and prevent abuse in sports.
USA Swimming said it had investigated a rumored relationship between the swimmer and Hutchison in 2010. Kukors was then 21.
USA Swimming said it hired a private investigator. Kukors, her sister and Hutchison all denied there was a romantic or sexual relationship, the organization said. The case was closed.
USA Swimming said Kukors' statement this week marks the first time that she says she was abused when she was a minor.
"Our hearts go out to Ariana and the difficulty she has gone through to reach this point of disclosure. We fully support her in her case for answers and justice and applaud her courage in sharing her story in an effort to empower victims and protect athletes," the statement said. “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. We stand by her, and all other victims, in their quest to break their silence and confront their horrific experiences.”
USA Swimming said it has sent the files from the 2010 investigation to the Center for Safe Sport.