Ariana Kukors Smith Sues USA Swimming, Says Sexual Abuse Was Covered Up

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2018

Ariana Kukors swims the Women’s 200 yard breaststroke finals during the 2008 USA Swimming Short Course National Championships on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008 at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta. Kukors won the race. (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)
Gregory Smith/Associated Press

Ariana Kukors Smith, who represented the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics, filed suit against USA Swimming, alleging the organization covered up sexual abuse committed by her former coach. 

"This lawsuit is about holding people accountable who should have protected a 15-year-old girl," Kukors Smith said, per the Phuong Le of the Associated Press. "I needed help, and there were people in positions of power that could have helped me."

According to Le, Kukors Smith said Sean Hutchison "groomed her for sexual abuse when she was 13," which progressed to "touching and kissing" when she was 16 and "sexual activity" after she turned 17. Hutchison has denied the allegations.

Kukors Smith first made the allegations in an essay she posted to her personal website.

CNN's Carma Hassan and Steve Almasy reported investigators from the Department of Homeland Security were looking into the case after Kukors Smith told them Hutchison took and was in possession of "sexually explicit photographs" from when she was a minor.

USA Swimming launched its own investigation in 2010 to determine whether Hutchison had an improper relationship with Kukors Smith. The organization ended the investigation shortly thereafter when Hutchison, Kukors Smith and her sister all denied the existence of any personal relationship.

According to Le, Kukors Smith's lawsuit said USA Swimming was aware of multiple relationships between Hutchison and underage swimmers as far back as 2005.

Her lawsuit comes as another official U.S. athletic body continues facing intense scrutiny for failing to properly address allegations of sexual assault.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman sued the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics in connection to the Larry Nassar scandal. Nassar, who was a team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison after almost 200 girls and women provided impact statements during his trial detailing his abuse.