Eric Hill, a former high school swim coach in Florida, has been banned by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. He’s accused of inappropriately touching a 16-year-old girl and has been charged with battery.
Back in May, Hill was removed from his teaching and coaching positions at Boca Raton High School in Florida and placed under police investigation. At the time, there were no further details, only news a month later that the school district would not renew its contract with Hill, and that Hill had been the subject of three other investigations in his 15-year tenure at the school, though none of those investigations had uncovered evidence of a crime.
Now, Hill’s name has been added to the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s banned database. The Center banned Hill under the “ineligible” tag, which typically means the appeal window could still be open. Hill’s ban was handed down on December 17 for “criminal disposition (subject to appeal / not yet final).” The Center’s policies allow it to ban coaches if they are charged with a crime, even if there isn’t yet a conviction.
Local media now report that Hill, 42, has been charged with battery and accused of inappropriately touching a female student. The local ABC affiliate reports that a swimmer accused Hill of inappropriately touching her butt. The girl, who was 16 at the time, says that Hill “reached out and placed his hand on the buttocks of (the teen) and left his hand on (her) buttocks for a few seconds” and that “[t]his touch was unwanted and was witnessed by (another student),” per the ABC report.
The girl says the incident happened on February 14 of 2018. She says she sat in a wet chair and “may have asked the coach to check that her pants would be dry in time for class, but didn’t intend for him to touch her,” according to a report by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. She also accuses Hill of several other improprieties while he coached her: offering to rub lotion on her inner thighs, telling her he couldn’t wait until she was 18, complimenting her body and resting his arm on her chest while asking her to roll up his sleeve, per the ABC and Sun-Sentinel reports.
The girl says she told Hill that it wasn’t right for him to touch her, and told police that Hill said no one would believe her if she came forward. She says he later apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again. Hill has not commented to local media other than his attorney telling the ABC affiliate that he couldn’t give a statement due to the pending charge. Hill pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery and will have another court date on January 10, according to The Palm Beach Post.