A former world champion swimmer is accusing her former coach of sexually abusing her. Ariana Kukors is now 28 and told the Department of Homeland Security that her coach Sean Hutchison started abusing her when she was just 16 years old.
She made her statement public by posting it on her website.
“I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough,” she said in a statement released by her attorneys. “I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself. But in time, I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten,” she wrote.
She said that he started the process of child ‘grooming’ which is a process that child predators use to obtain a victim’s trust with the aim of sexualising the relationship.
She was just thirteen years old when Hutchison started coaching her in Seattle. She has said that it began as back rubs in hotel rooms, and proceeded to kissing, fondling and molestation. She says that he also took pictures of her in the shower and on walks.
“I think back on those times now, tearfully asking why no one helped me . . . why no one stepped in to save me from this monster,” she wrote on her website.
He has denied all claims.
He said that she started a committed relationship only after the 2012 Olympics, which 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 in a statement.
Ariana Kukors says that she underwent therapy and that she realised that she had been abused because of it. She also says that USA Swimming knew about the abuse eight years ago. It had hired a private investigator in 2010 to investigate the rumoured relationship between the two. At the time Kukors and Hutchison denied a relationship.
It has issued a statement of support:
“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 investigation against Hutchison is in the preliminary stages.
Also Read: What’s the difference between sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape?