Usa swimming covered up for ‘pedophile’ coach, lawsuit says gas 78 industries


Hutchison and USA Swimming, the governing body for competitive swimming in the United States, are among those named in a lawsuit filed Monday in California alleging sexual abuse of a minor, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. USA Swimming declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Smith, 28, first went public with her account in January. In the lawsuit, she says Hutchison of kissed, fondled and performed oral sex on her when she was a minor, before they had intercourse for the first time when she was 18. She also accuses him of taking nude photos of her as a minor.

"As expressed earlier this year, we respect Ariana Kukors’ bravery in stepping forward and sharing her story. We have been in regular contact with her legal team over the last several months and will continue to work with them and Ariana through this process."

The lawsuit accuses top USA Swimming officials of manipulating an internal background screening to omit complaints or negative references for Hutchison and other coaches — creating a culture in which it claims "pedophile coaches" such as Hutchison were given cover to abuse young athletes.

Smith says she was 13 when Hutchison became her coach at King Aquatic Club in Seattle, Washington, in 2002. There, Hutchison began grooming Smith to manipulate her and gain her trust, the lawsuit says. King Aquatic Center is accused in the lawsuit of failing to protect Smith from Hutchison. The center did not respond to emails and phone calls requesting comment.

From 2002 to 2005, Smith traveled with Hutchison to several meets across California, where the lawsuit claims Hutchison’s inappropriate behavior escalated to touching in front of others and behind closed doors. Then, at the 2006 US Nationals in Irvine, California, Hutchison put his hand in Smith’s pants and molested her, the lawsuit claims. The behavior was repeated in 2006 during training in Newport Beach, California, and at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Victoria, British Columbia, the lawsuit claims.

Some of the meets were organized by Western Zone Swimming and Pacific Northwest Swimming — regional governing bodies for the sport. They are named in the lawsuit, accused of failing to protect Smith from Hutchison. Western Zone Swimming did not return emails and phone calls requesting comment. Pacific Northwest Swimming referred inquiries to USA Swimming.

USA Swimming head coach Mark Schubert is accused in the lawsuit of failing to report Hutchison’s alleged abuse. As USA Swimming’s National Team head coach from June 2006 to November 2010, the lawsuit claims Schubert saw Hutchison hugging and inappropriately touching Smith at three international competitions.

Hutchison was the head coach of the US women’s team in 2009 and also was one of the Olympic coaches in 2008 at the Beijing Games. When Hutchison moved to California that year to coach at a training center, Smith joined the roster of elite swimmers there, her lawyers said previously.

By 2010, Smith was an adult in an abusive relationship, the lawsuit claims. That same year, Schubert reported the two to USA Swimming, commencing what the lawsuit calls a "sham investigation" that found no wrongdoing by Hutchison, the lawsuit said.

Because of Hutchison’s "position of power and control" over Smith, and the psychological impact of the abuse, Smith failed to recognize the mental and physical toll the interactions with her coach had taken on her until 2015, the lawsuit says.