An Olympic Swimmer Speaks Up — and We Are With Her

U.S. Olympic champion swimmer Ariana Kukors, now 28, has accused 46-year-old Sean Hutchison, her former team coach, of sexually abusing her while she was a young teen under his supervision.

H ere’s what we know. (And it sounds WAY too familiar.)

Hutchison started coaching Kukors when she was 13. In 2010, USA Swimming was made aware of a potential inappropriate relationship between Hutchison and then 21-year-old Ariana. They retained an independent private investigator and conducted a “full investigation” but since Kukors denied that anything was wrong (surprise!), USA Swimming decided that nothing was amiss.

In the meantime, Hutchison was adding to his collection of child pornography (guess USA Swimming did not look at his computer in 2010?). Oops.

Thankfully, Kukors took further action, resulting in Homeland Security’s raid this week of Hutchison’s Seattle home to search for explicit photos of Kukors (age 17) and other pornographic material.

“I never thought I would share my story because I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself,” Kukors said in a statement released through her attorneys Wednesday. “But in time, I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten.”

Our hearts are with Ariana Kukors. We send her strength and healing as she stands her ground against her abuser. And we thank her for speaking up – and the power her voice has to protect other girls and women.

Why do men sexually abuse children in their care?

Often the men who sexually abuse minors have high social standing in a group. They may be star athletes, coaches, prominent members of the community, or even especially popular. This high social status, with its constant praise and rush can translate into a toxic delusion that the rules in life are different for them.

But none of this means that abusers don’t know right from wrong.

Regardless of the psychological reasons behind abuse, every adult who sexually harms a child needs to be held fully accountable. This is true not only for the sake of the child they’ve harmed (who may now be an adult), but also for the protection of other children they could harm in the future.

That is why many states allow victims of child sexual abuse to take legal action years, even decades, after the abuse occurred – so that predators can be brought to justice once the children who were abused grow into adulthood and have the strength to speak up.

If you were abused email [email protected] for a confidential consult.