Ex-USA swimmer alleges sexual abuse by coach
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating an allegation that a former U.S. Olympic swimming coach sexually exploited a swimmer when she was a teen.
Ariana Kukors, now 28, told investigators that former coach Sean Hutchison groomed her for sex beginning when she was a young teen and then sexually assaulted her multiple times and took nude photos of her before she turned 18.
SeattlePI.com reported Wednesday that Homeland Security agents searched Hutchison's Seattle apartment on Tuesday, looking for electronic evidence of explicit photos of swimmers.
Kukors competed for Team USA in the 2012 Olympics in London, taking fifth place in the 200-meter individual medley.
Hutchison was an assistant coach on the U.S. swim team for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He coached Kukors at King Aquatics in the Seattle area.
In 2010, he resigned from a coaching job in Fullerton, Calif., after being accused of having a relationship with one of his swimmers. However, he denied the allegation of misconduct.
In her statement, Kukors said, "I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough. 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. 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. 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."
A Homeland Security spokeswoman told SeattlePI.com: "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. (A) phone line and email box will be closely monitored by HSI agents and all calls will receive a prompt response."
The latest allegations follow the recent sentencing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for years of sexual abuse of girls. Congress' response to the Nassar case included the House Committee on Energy and Commerce calling on USA Swimming to turn over records related to alleged abuse.
In a Jan. 26 letter sent to Tim Hinchey, president and CEO of USA Swimming, six members of the congressional committee signed a letter that read, in part, "The abhorrent abuses associated with USA Gymnastics, as well as allegations in 2014, when 19 former swimmers said they were sexually abused by their coaches, may raise concerns about whether your organization has sufficient mechanisms to protect your athletes from abuse and mistreatment. Accordingly, the Committee is seeking information from USA Swimming because of the role it plays in overseeing swimming and protecting all of its athletes."
--Field Level Media