Ex-swim coach's home searched amid sexual abuse allegations

Hope Soto
February 11, 2018

Hutchison was the head coach on the 2008 US Olympic team and head coach of the 2009 US team at the world championships.

Kukors wrote that Hutchinson immediately started grooming her for abuse when he started coaching her at age 13, beginning with required handshakes, and making the girls under his supervision feel special. In Britain, Olympic coach Paul Hickson was sent to jail for 17 years (later reduced by a few years) after being found guilty of multiple rape and sexual assault charges against teenage swimmers; and in Ireland Olympic coach Derry O'Rourke became known as the monster of a "chamber of horrors" when the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard in 1998 the then 51-year-old plead guilty to 29 charges relating to 11 girls and covering "unlawful carnal knowledge" of girls under 15, sexual assault and indecent assault, all committed between 1976 and 1992.

Kukors, 28, came forward with her story the day after authorities searched Hutchison's Seattle home for evidence he took sexually explicit photos of Kukors when she was an underage teenager.

"A fellow coach from back East called me and said that there were rumors going around the swim meet about Sean". He worked there with Hutchison. "It's still hard to comprehend, but Sean had perfected the art of grooming; I wasn't even aware I needed saving". He once put a paper ring on my ring finger that read, "My lovely Ari", and told me he wanted to spend his life with me.

"All they could come up with was Ariana and Sean's cars parked together at 5 a.m in the morning in front of Sean's condo", Schubert says.

Accusations of sexual misconduct rocked the sports world when US gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was convicted in court after more than 250 victims accused him of sexual abuse out of which 150 delivered heartbreaking accounts of their assaults. Without proof, Schubert says, the coach did what he thought was best and he asked Hutchinson to leave. But I think they knew.

Hutchison left Team USA in 2010, but is still a member of USA Swimming through his ownership of King Aquatic Center.

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Hutchison's bio has been removed from the website. That same year, Hutchinson resigned from a position as a U.S. Olympic swimming coach in California, amid allegations that he had been sexually involved with a female athlete. He said USA Swimming should ensure that allegations are reported to law enforcement.

She stayed with Hutchison because he convinced her she would have her fastest swim times for him, she says.

Now, Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors is speaking out against former USA coach Sean Hutchison, who she alleges sexually abused her and photographed her nude when she was 16 years old. "But in time, I've realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten".

The Department of Homeland Security with assistance from the Des Moines, Washington police department conducted a search warrant on Hutchison's apartment just south of Seattle.

"I absolutely deny having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself", Hutchinson said in a statement through his lawyer, Brad Meryhew. I don't really have a particular love for swimming itself or sports in general, it was just the tool where I felt like I could help the best rather than being a college professor because of the amount of time.

The investigation comes amid scrutiny over the supervision of people who work with young athletes. Per the retired Olympian's attorneys, the investigators seized computers and phones for examination purposes.

Last month, after former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing young athletes, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee opened an investigation into sexual abuse in organized sports including USA Swimming.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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