USA 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.
Kukors, a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, said that Hutchinson had tried to “groom” her for a sexual relationship when she began training under him as a teenager, the SeattlePI reports.
“I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough,” Kukors said in a statement. “I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself.”
Kukors said she stepped forward now out of fear he may be mistreating other children. “But in time, I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten. Not for the sake of you knowing my story, but for the little girls and boys whose lives and future hangs in the grasp of a horribly powerful and manipulative person,” Kukors said.
“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 it’s tragic consequences before it’s too late.”
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Hutchinson resigned from his position with the U.S. Olympic team in 2010 after being accused of an inappropriate relationship with one of his former students. An independent investigator cleared him of wrongdoing at the time, saying “there was no evidence to substantiate the existence of an inappropriate sexual or romantic relationship between Coach Hutchison and the athlete,” the Washington Post reported in 2011.
The Department of Homeland Security executed a search warrant of Hutchinson’s home Tuesday, seizing computers and documents, after a complaint filed Jan. 30.
“He took hundreds or thousands of sexually explicit photographs of her,” a Homeland Security agent told SeattlePI, suggesting that Kukors thinks Hutchison may have abused others.
The allegations against Hutchinson follow the horrific crimes committed by U.S. Gymnastics former head doctor Larry Nassar, who is serving more than 100-year sentences for sexually abusing minors under his care.
“We are still in the very preliminary stages of this investigation, but obviously a top priority in all cases involving alleged online child exploitation is identifying any possible minor victims,” Homeland Security spokeswoman Lori Haley said.
“Much like the [U.S. Olympic Committee] knew about Larry Nassar years before his arrest and did nothing, USA Swimming had noticed in 2010 that Sean Hutchison was involved in an inappropriate coach-athlete relationship with Ariana and took no actions to protect her or other swimmers from this pedophile,” Kukors’ attorney Robert Allard said.
“If this organization had immediately reported what it knew to authorities, Hutchison likely would have been stopped, Ariana would have been spared years of abuse, and countless other young girls would have been protected from this sexual predator,” he added
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