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US Olympic swimmer accuses coach of abuse

10 February 2018

Kukors, a Seattle-area native, also described how she fell in love with the sport when she was 5 and poured everything into her training and progressed with supportive coaches.

Kukors claims Hutchison started sexually abusing her when she was 16. "Prior to that time, I did nothing to "groom" her". "I deeply regret that she would make these wild allegations all these years later". Ariana Kukors told police that Hutchinson had coached her since she was 13, and took pictures of her when she was 17.

Law enforcement officials have reportedly conducted a search warrant at former USA Swimming National coach Sean Hutchison's house south of Seattle after Kukors told law enforcement he sexually assaulted her when she was 16. After practice one day when she was 15, he asked about her underwear and started kissing and touching her, Kukors writes. "Sean Hutchison has stepped down as an executive with King and has had no direct interaction with our swimmers for a very long time". "It's still hard to comprehend, but Sean had perfected the art of grooming; I wasn't even aware I needed saving", she wrote.

Bob Allard, an attorney for Kukors, likened USA Swimming's role with Hutchinson to that between the U.S. Olympic Committe and convicted pedophile Larry Nassar in a statement.

Hutchison, who was an assistant coach on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, said the two were in a relationship after the 2012 Olympics and that she lived in his Seattle home for more than a year. I'd never been physical with anyone before but I now found myself alone with him, engaging in sexual acts and trying to hide my embarrassment when he sat in the women's locker room and watched me shower. In 2010, they investigated a report of an inappropriate relationship between the then-21-year-old Kukors and Hutchison.

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Hutchison left coaching afterward but remained a member of USA Swimming as the owner of member club King Aquatic near Seattle, the organization said.

When the swimming events ended in London, Hutchison made sure she returned home, missing the closing ceremony, because "in Sean's eyes, I had been selfish enough", she wrote.

'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.

According to Ms. Kukors's statement, she realized that she had been abused only "through recent therapy and after years of suppressing memories of the pain and suffering", and that she was coming forward with her story on the recommendation of victims' advocates. "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".

The US Olympic Committee has said it will appoint an independent investigator to probe the organization and USA Gymnastics to determine who knew what and when in that case.

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Kukors said that was the same year he escalated to sexual abuse. Bergen was eventually forced out at the club following accusations by Deena Deardurff Schmidt, a 1972 Olympic gold medalist, that Bergen sexually abused her more than 40 years ago.

USA Swimming's position is not entirely consistent either, critics have noted: it assumes they are prepared to ignore what she told them in 2011 and, potentially, accept that there could have been circumstances in 2011 that were not conducive to the swimmer and the coach telling the truth, while now stating in 2018 that they side with the swimmer and will help all victims of abuse in their "quest for truth".

Once she was an adult, Kukors said she and Hutchinson entered a sort of relationship. "But our top priority in all cases involving alleged online child exploitation is identifying any possible minor victims".

Hutchison did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

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US Olympic swimmer accuses coach of abuse