Former Olympic divers allege in a class action lawsuit that USA Diving has ignored and allowed the sexual abuse of athletes. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Indiana last week. It claims in the suit that this allowed for one couch to continuously rape two of his female divers, according to Indy Star.
According to CNN, the lawsuit accuses defendants William Bohonyi, the diving couch for sexually preying on at least two female divers, USA Diving, and the Ohio State University Diving Club. Attorney Jon Little, who filed the suit last week, told The Indianapolis Star that the divers accusations are “worse than gymnastics, worse than swimming.”
Last year, hundreds of former gymnasts came forward to make accusations against former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar. Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the gymnasts and was sentenced up to 175 years in prison. Swimmer Ariana Kukors in May filed a lawsuit claiming that USA Swimming failed to protect her after she was sexually abused as a minor by coach Sean Hutchison. Smith claimed that the couch used his position of power over her to sexually abuse her. She then claimed that USA Swimming protected him rather than her.
A class action lawsuit against Indianapolis-based USA Diving accuses the national governing body of ignoring or obstructing sexual abuse allegations, and the lawyer says the organization is "worse than gymnastics, worse than swimming."https://t.co/qJl0qr1bBo
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 16, 2018
USA Diving suit claims that Bohonyi forced the women into repeatedly performing sexual services for him. “Bohonyi demanded sexual services because he was her diving coach and could coerce [the victim] into sexually servicing him,” the lawsuit said
A spokeswoman told the Indy Star on Monday that, “Providing a safe environment for our members is of tremendous importance to USA Diving, and we take these matters very seriously.”
“Bohonyi used his position of authority and control over [the victim] as a USA Diving coach to demand and obtain daily sexual services,” the lawsuit claims. “Bohonyi was extremely aggressive in making these demands and never took ‘no’ as an answer from [the victim]. She was not free to refuse her sexual services and he forced her to provide him sexual services every time he demanded them.”
According to The Hill, the lawsuit also alleges that the coach forced a sexual relationship with a 16 year old diver at the Ohio State Diving Club. After another diver reported the abuse, the team sent the abused diver home instead of punishing Bohonyi. Even after he was fired in 2014, Bohonyi continued to abuse the young girl, saying that “she owed him this and that she had lost him his job”.
Eventually USA Diving deemed Bohonyi as “permanently ineligible” for coaching. Deadspin reports that he was still able to coach female divers under the age of 18 until 2017.
The case will go through the courts, and more information surrounding the case is likely to be revealed.