Attorney Bob Allard has filed a lawsuit against the Pacific Swimming Local Swim Committee (Pacific LSC) and Stockton Swim Club in the case of a 13-year old female swimmer who alleges that she was sexually abused by her swim coach Shunichi Fujishima.
The 13-year old girl, who is referred to in court documents as Jane Doe due to her age, claims that she was assaulted “numerous times” by Fujishima beginning when she was 12-years old. The suit also says that she believes that “one of USA Swimming’s west coast LSCs, Pacific Swimming, failed to implement training that which, if implemented, would have resulted in the reporting of Fujishima’s predatory grooming behavior displayed on a regular basis at both practices and swim meets before numerous coaches and swim officials.”
Among the ‘grooming’ accusations made:
- Coach staying with the minor in a hotel during in out of town meet
- Engaging in social media interactions with her concerning personal matters
- Referring to her with pet names such as “babe”
- Open display of provocative stretching and massages on the pool deck
The suit alleges that this “ongoing grooming” went on for months and culminated with Fujishima having sex with the 13-year old in his vehicle in the pool parking lot.
“This case highlights the dire need to proactively educate and train swimming officials, coaches, and swimmers on the identification of predatory behavior,” said attorney Robert Allard. “Leadership starts at the top. Pacific Swimming does not have a clear mandate to make athlete safety a top priority, so this lawsuit seeks to remedy that deficiency by protecting young swimmers from predator coaches.”
The suit asks for both financial relief for the alleged victim, as well as for the Pacific Swimming LSC to “participate in a training/education program on grooming behaviors of child predators and mandated reporter duties.”
The 23-year old coach Fujishima was arrested on January 10th and has been in the San Joaquin County Jail ever since, with bail set at $1.875 million. He was charged with 9 criminal counts, including the commission of lewd acts upon a child, unlawful sexual intercourse and possession of child pornography.
The Stockton Swim Club website is no longer online, but Fujishima was previously listed as both the head coach and its CEO of the non-profit club. The US Center for Safe Sport lists Fujishima as “ineligible” by way of criminal disposition as of February 19th, but has not yet made that status “permanently ineligible.” USA Swimming lists Fujishima on its list of individuals permanently banned, but uses the name Shunichi Ichimura, noting that Shunichi Ichimura is a “known alias of Shunichi Ichimura.”