Swim Team Sexual Abuse Lawyer
The swim team sexual abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represent victims of sexual assault.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757. We are here to listen to your story in a confidential setting and help you build a case against the predator and a US national, state, or local team.
As with all of our sexual abuse cases, we represent victims of abuse on a contingency fee basis where we only receive a legal fee when we are successful in obtaining a financial recovery for you.
Sexual Molestation in the Youth Sports Organizations
For more than 40 years, USA swimming officials have dealt with molestation cases at nearly every level involving young children and adolescents. Many of these abuse cases have become high-profile lawsuits making headlines across the United States.
Over the last 10 years, former USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on the football team have received harsh prison time for sexually abusing dozens and hundreds of victims.
In response, the USA swimming team has permanently banned over 150 coaches, assistant coaches, and other staff members and employees for violating the national governing body code of conduct.
Nearly all the offenses involving these employees and volunteers involved inappropriate carnal activity. Many of the sex abuse predators associated or those with access to the US swim clubs involve:
- Swimming coaches
- Sports physical therapists
- Volunteers and employees
USA swimming team predators usually maintain the dominant position on the team with continuous access to a targeted victim as a coach or even a trainer. These abusers often use effective tactics to dominate their victims, or exploit, control, or humiliate other people.
These predators use their inappropriate power over others to control the situation and sexually exploit, molest, or intimidate minors including using their:
Age – typically, predators choose the most vulnerable and young children to victimize. The predator will select children more likely to experience addiction, anxiety, depression, or personality disorders.
Authority – Predators that have an implied authority over others can use their power of position to utilize and take advantage of the victim.
Intimidation – Predators often use intimidation tactics to sexually abuse the extremely vulnerable members of society, which could include the elderly, cognitively challenged, and children.
The USA swimming team abuser typically explains their inappropriate predatory behavior through fantastical stories to discourage the sexually abused victim from reporting what occurred. Often, the victim is coerced or threatened to never share what happened. Most of these cases are never reported.
Defining Sexual Abuse
Sexual assault involving underage swimmers associated with the USA swimming team is not always apparent. In many cases, inappropriate sexual contact or touching causes physical, mental, and emotional damage to minors that last for decades.
A few forms of sex abuse include:
- Non-consensual sexual action, contact, or penetration
- Unwelcomed light physical touching occurring in public and private settings
- Demanding, insisting, or taking sexually suggestive or inappropriate photographs of the minor swimmer
- Predatory grooming that solely manipulates athletes to agree, accept, or allow inappropriate carnal activity
- Exposing the child to sex language, explicit images, or pornography
- Asking the underage swimmer to take or send inappropriate photographs of themselves
- Exposing genitalia to a minor
- Capturing inappropriate photographs of an underage swimmer for personal use or sharing/distribution
- USA swimming team officials, coaches, and others that failed to protect the victim
- Emailing, texting or messaging inappropriate communication
It is essential to know that any sex abuse child under the age of eighteen cannot legally consent to erotic activity in any form with coaches, teachers, trainers, or anyone. Often, the age differences between the predator and their victim may be ten, twenty, thirty, or more years.
Recently, online exploitation of minors has become a new form of child sexual abuse. Some predators attempt to arrange a meeting with the underage swimmer to participate in inappropriate sexual activity.
This communication with the sexually abused child and the USA swimming team predator is done through chatting, talking on bulletin boards, and instant messaging.
The Damaging Effects of Child Sexual Abuse
Many families miss the “red flags” and warning signs that identify that their young child is a sexual abuse victim.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the common indicators that may help identify survivors of sexual abuse victimized by coaches and trainers to include:
- Signs of aggressive behavior
- Extreme mood swings
- Fear of being around places or people
- Emotional and behavioral regression where the child begins wetting the bed, cleaning to others, displaying fear and trauma, or difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Age-inappropriate displays of intimate relationship activity
- Acting rebellious
- Showing signs of low self-esteem, depression, or displays of low self-worth
- Acting up at home, school, church, or exporting activities
- Displays of troubling behavior
The child should be encouraged to discuss anything, even the most sensitive matters. Parents need to recognize the children do not always discuss what occurred until hours, days, or weeks later. But not being told could compromise the child's well being if the predator isn't stopped.
Remaining silent or withdrawn as a part of the healing process that is encouraging the behavioral changes.
Parents should recognize any outbursts, sleepiness, withdrawn behavior, anxiety, avoiding adults, and acting on as an invitation to speak to them about what went on.
The child's advocates do not need to know every detail to report their suspicions to the proper authorities. A police report is the first step to holding the predator accountable.
Predators Use Grooming to Attract New Sexual Abuse Victims
Predators often use child grooming as a manipulative tool that helps to lower the swimmers' defenses. Many times the predator is so good at grooming swimmers that they are unaware of what is occurring.
Predators will use various tactics including:
- Targeting the USA swimming victim while becoming fixated on the child’s looks, behaviors, or sports abilities
- Granting special privileges like giving the child a ride to a swing me, sports practice, or other activity
- Earning the victim’s trust by gathering unique information about their victim and fulfilling that need with financial, emotional, or social support
- Isolating the USA swimming victim by creating an emotional bond that may involve “Buddy” outings, special trips, or individualized coaching
- Initiating erotic activity through phases where the predator first begins discussing explicit intimate details or sharing inappropriate photographs. The next step may include becoming closer physically through wrestling or swimming together until physical contact or assault occurs.
Other indicators that the predator is grooming the child include gift-giving, offering unrequested help, hugging, touching, or gaining online access to their victim. The tactics help the predator to ensure that law enforcement is never told what happened.
High-Profile Sexual Assault Lawsuits Involving USA Swimming
In 2010, the California court system sentenced one-time swim coach Andrew King to a 40-year prison sentence for assaulting underage females, for decades.
Back in the 1980s, and the King approached the parents of an eleven-year-old U S Olympic aspiring Debbie Denithorne (now Debra Grodensky) and said he was available to coach her on the USA swimming team.
However, within months, the now-former coach King was allegedly sexually assaulting the Olympian hopeful girl and left her with psychological and emotional scars that still hurt her today.
The plaintiff said that the assault occurred at the Southern California San Ramon Valley aquatics facility when she was twelve.
The woman said that when she was a fifteen-year-old sport athlete, King had engaged in intercourse with her while she participated in the 1984 United States championships held at a USA swimming event in Florida.
Reports indicate that since then, five other women who were child athletes have participated in filed civil lawsuits charging the USA swimming team from the Northern and Southern California associations for their responsibility for the alleged abuse involving King.
Additionally, the sex abuse victims have cited other defendants in cases including the now-former U S national team director Everett Uchiyama, former US Olympic and national team coach Mitch Ivey, along with Andy King in an Alameda County Superior Court.
Top officials of the USA swimming team national governing body, including former Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, Ivey, local country clubs, and associations were aware of Andrew King’s abusive behavior.
A report states that all those who knew, including the executive director and Ivey, said nothing to address the problem and created a sport culture of assault by exposing many more underage females to sexual harassment and abuse.
Many child sexual abuse survivors said that the bad practices involving molestation continue among the abusers and the organizations USA swimming officials, like Uchiyama and Ivey.
The Statute of Limitations For Sexual Abuse Victims
Every state in the union has different time restrictions on how long a victim of sexual assault can file a compensation claim against the predator and sports officials. Some states, including New York, Colorado, California, Illinois, and Indiana have extended the time limit for survivors of sexual abuse beyond the three-year window.
A new California law extends the time that an adult could file a claim against a sexual predator, organization, and officials that harmed them during their teen years, even if it has been decades since the assault occurred. The previous law started running the clock on the victim’s eighteenth birthday.
However, today, the newly enacted law extends that age to twenty-six years old.
Inappropriate Contact and Touching
Unfortunately, many children in sports activities fall prey to sexual predators with nearly continuous access to adolescents, tweens, and young children.
Many youth sports activities allow adults isolation time with young players while on overnight trips, and USA swimming building events, or between training sessions.
Much of the time, coaches and assistant coaches spend with children is unsupervised. Sadly, many parents never see the “red flags” that something is wrong until they learn that a coach shared a hotel room with a minor player or had inappropriate physical contact with the child.
Many sexual abuse victims never speak out about what happened with their abuser until decades later, if ever.
Law enforcement and the U.S. Center for Safe Sport were never contacted to file a case involving the sexual abuse of a child who was harmed through sodomy, rape, oral sex, or other sexual activity.
The USA swimming association mandates that all swim coaches, assistant coaches, trainers, and employees follow the SafeSport requirements to report child sex abuse and avoid a cover-up.
Hire a USA Swimming Team Sexual Abuse Attorney to Handle Your Civil Court Case Now
The sexual assault and injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers know that abusing children is reprehensible. Any predator harming a child and any organization, including the USA swimming team that allows the abuser access to the victim must be held accountable.
Was your loved one abused? If so, contact us at (888) 424-5757 today to schedule a free case evaluation. Speak with us in a confidential setting about what happened.
Let us take action now and begin an investigation to gather evidence, speak to eyewitnesses, and build a solid case for justice. All victim swimmers could be eligible to receive monetary compensation from the organization, officials, and predator.
Filing a case in civil court will hold the institution accountable and ensure that young athletes in the future never suffer the damaging effects of child molestation. like the victim did.
Our law firm currently follows the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines on social distancing to protect all of us from Covid-19 (coronavirus).