Former Indiana club and high school swim coach Ken Stopkotte has been laying low since charges of stealing money from the Hamilton Southeastern School District were dropped in early 2012.
He is now sliding back into the forefront as he has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Hamilton Southeastern School Corporation and Mel Goldstein, founder and director of YMCA Indy SwimFit (and former US Masters Swimming president, though that role is unrelated to this case). The case was filed this week in Marion County, with Jon Little representing him.
“Ken Stopkotte was damaged emotionally and financially by the phony criminal charges,” said Little. “This lawsuit will hold the School District and the YMCA’s Mel Goldstein accountable for Stopkotte spending ten days in a Tennessee jail awaiting extradition to Indiana during the Thanksgiving Holidays and for a lifetime of shame suffered by the malicious prosecution.”
The complaint states that the defendants’ conduct and false statements to the police and court instituted or caused to be instituted a prosecution against Stopkotte in the form of eight counts of D-felony fraud. It is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.
“There was no evidence or even an allegation that I used the money for personal use,” said Stopkotte. “Nowhere in the Official Affidavit for Probable Cause did it state that I personally misused or otherwise used the nearly $17,000 in question for my own personal benefit. Rather the document refers to me depositing the money into a “private account” for Swim Club expenses.”
Neither Goldstein nor the Hamilton Southeastern School District returned an immediate quest for comment, though we will provide an update if they do.
In addition to the criminal charges against Stopkotte, he is serving a 2-year ban on USA Swimming membership and a 5-year ban on membership with Indiana Swimming in a settlement after being accused of falsifying results for his swimmers. Stopkotte, also in 2010, filed a formal complaint with the USOC against USA Swimming, as he believed that he was retalliated against after commenting on sexual abuse in the sport on the explosive now-famous 20/20 piece on the subject.