U.S. Olympic swimming coach Sean Hutchison is denying allegations that he sexually abused Ariana Kukors, a 2012 Olympic swimmer from Auburn, Wash.
Kukors claims Hutchison, who was an assistant swimming coach at KING Aquatic Club in Federal Way, began sexually abusing her at age 16. She describes the alleged relationship in a long blog post that she calls 'My Story.'
"It’s still hard to comprehend, but Sean had perfected the art of grooming; I wasn’t even aware I needed saving," Kukors wrote in the blog post. "And as long as I swam fast, it seemed easy enough for the organizations that have masterfully buried these tragedies for years, to once again brush off the rumors."
In statement released Thursday, Hutchison said, "At no time did I ever abuse Ariana Kukors or do anything with her that was not consensual.
I absolutely deny having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself. Prior to that time, I did nothing to "groom" her.
After the 2012 Olympics we were in a committed relationship and Ariana lived at my residence in Seattle for more than a year. Her younger sister also lived with us for several months and her mother was a regular visitor to our home.
I deeply regret that she would make these wild allegations all these years later."
KING Aquatic Club is reviewing the claims of sexual abuse and said Hutchison is an executive with KING, but has not had interaction with swimmers for "a very long time."
Hutchison's photo was removed from the coaches section on KING Aquatic Club's website overnight Wednesday.
"Last night’s news broke our collective hearts," KING Aquatic Club Head Coach Michael Brooks said in a statement. "Ariana Kukors is part of the King Aquatic family and we only want the best for her."
In a statement from an agency representing Kukors released Wednesday, Kukors says Hutchison started child "grooming" her -- a practice used by child predators to gain a victim's trust -- when she was 13 years old after he became her coach at KING Aquatic Club in Federal Way.
"I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough," Kukors said. "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 its tragic consequences before it's too late."
Kukors said she came to the realization of the abuse after undergoing therapy. Her attorneys worked with Homeland Security Investigations and Des Moines Police to execute a search at Hutchison's apartment.
“Much like the USOC knew about Larry Nassar years before his arrest and did nothing, USA Swimming had notice in 2010 that Sean Hutchison was involved in an inappropriate coach-athlete relationship with Ariana and took no actions to protect her or other swimmers from this pedophile," said Robert Allard, one of Kukor's attorneys. “If this organization had immediately reported what it knew to authorities, Hutchison likely would have been stopped, Ariana would have been spared years of abuse, and countless other young girls would have been protected from this sexual predator."
USA Swimming said it conducted a full investigation in 2010 when it became aware of a "rumored relationship" between Hutchison and Kukors. During the investigation, USA Swimming said Kukors and her sister Emily both denied there was a romantic or sexual relationship between Hutchison and Kukors.
"With the denials from both parties, the investigation provided no basis to conclude that a Code of Conduct violation occurred, and the case was closed," Isabelle McLemore, a spokesperson for USA Swimming said in a statement. "Hutchison left coaching shortly thereafter but remains a member of USA Swimming as the owner of a member club based in Seattle."
"I'm proud of her for talking about these things, and we need to talk about them. It is shocking, it is sad, it is mind boggling," said Olympic gold medalist Megan Jendrick, formerly Megan Quann, who trained with Kukors and was coached for five years by Hutchison.
Des Moines Police said they had received a report from Seattle Police on January 23, 2018, that alleged sex crimes occurred at the Mount Rainier Pool in Des Moines. The crimes happened between 2002 and 2007, when the victim turned 18. Police said the suspect under investigation was the victim's swim coach during the time; however, police did not identify Hutchison as the suspect.
Kukors and her lawyers are asking anyone with information to call HSI Seattle at (206) 442-1469 or email information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kukors attended Auburn Mountainview High School and the University of Washington. She held the world record in the 200 meter Individual Medley from July 2009 to August 2015.