Olympic swimmer and Auburn native Ariana Kukors Smith has sued USA Swimming, alleging the organization knew her former coach sexually abused her as a minor but covered up the crime.
In her lawsuit filed Monday in Orange County, California, Superior Court, Kukors Smith claims that Sean Hutchison, who started coaching her at a local swim club when she was a child, began grooming her when she was 13, started touching and kissing her when she was 16, and first engaged in sexual activity with her when she was 17.
Hutchison denies the allegations, and prosecutors have not yet charged him with any crimes.
Kukors Smith is suing longtime Olympic coach Mark Schubert as well, she claims, for failing to report “a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or endangerment.”
Kukors Smith’s lawsuit alleges that as far back as 2005, top officials of swimming’s governing body were aware of allegations that her coach was having inappropriate relationships with underage swimmers, among them Kukors Smith, who was 16 at the time. In 2010, the organization hired a private investigator to pursue rumors of a relationship between the two, but closed the investigation without uncovering any misconduct.
Top officials of USA Swmming, Kukors Smith alleges, manipulated a background screening system to protect coaches accused of abuse from scrutiny.
Kukors Smith, the 2009 world champion in the 200-meter individual medley, placed fifth in the event at the 2012 Games.
Kukors is a 2007 Auburn Mountainview High School graduate and a former Pac-10 champion at the University of Washington.