US Olympic swimmer accuses coach of abuse

Investigators have searched the Seattle home of a former U.S. Olympic Team swimming coach amid allegations that he sexually abused and took explicit photos of an underage athlete.

Ariana Kukors, 28, who was a member of the 2012 Olympic team and a 2009 World champion in the 200-meter individual medley, told police Hutchinson sexually assaulted her when she was 16 and continued the abuse until she was 24.

"I never thought I would share my story because I was able to leave a terrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself", she said in a statement Wednesday.

'I absolutely deny having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself. Former team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to more in three separate cases, with one case bringing up to 175 years in prison, after he pleaded guilty to abusing women and girls in his care during medical treatments. Kukors went public with her accusations the day after officers with Homeland Security searched Hutchison's Seattle home, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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. In 2010 Hutchison resigned as a coach for the US Olympic team amid rumours that he was sexually involved with a swimmer on the team. But in time, I've realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten.

"We stand by her, and all other victims, in their quest to break their silence and confront their horrific experiences", the statement said.

Ariana was groomed and manipulated as a minor by her trusted swim coach.

Kukors competed at the 2012 Olympics and retired the following year.

"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.

Sean Hutchison said in a statement Thursday through his attorney that at no time did he ever abuse Kukors or do anything with her that was not consensual.

The coach under investigation left a Southern California program where he trained young women on the USA team in 2010 after speculation that he was sexually involved with a swimmer. 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.

On Tuesday, investigators with a Homeland Security Department task force searched Hutchison's downtown Seattle apartment, according to Seattle PI. "He was 34. I was 16".

In her essay, which a representative confirmed, Kukors describes the first time she remembers Hutchinson behaving inappropriately toward her. "I had never felt more alone in all my life".

"Now with the benefit of hindsight and time, one would have to question whether there was any integrity to the first time they did this investigation", he said, adding that "I sincerely hope that if they're investigating at 21, did they ask what happened before 18?"

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

Hutchinson has not been charged with any crime, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which runs a child exploitation investigations unit, implied that he is suspected of transmitting abusive photos of children online.

"In January of 2011, USA Swimming investigated the claims made against Sean and myself", Kukors wrote.

  • Rosalie Stanley