- Yet another victim has stepped forward alleging that she was sexually abused by disgraced swim coach Andy King.
The allegations are contained in a new lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court by the firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, claiming that King used his position of authority “to manipulate and sexually assault over a dozen female swimmers over a 30-year period,” including A.H., the anonymous plaintiff in the new case.
There are now seven victims suing San Ramon Valley Aquatics, Pacific Swimming and USA Swimming, including named victims Debra Grodensky, Caren McKay and Katie Kelly.
This most recent case is separate from the other victims. Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard say they will move to consolidate A.H.’s case with the other six victims, which are set to go to trial in May 2022.
Attorney Robert Allard offered the following statement to SwimSwam on the new lawsuit:
“Andy King surely was the most prolific predator in sport. For roughly three decades, he left carnage in his wake from Northern California to the state of Washington to Central Valley, CA and back to Northern California where he was finally stopped in 2009 by my client Jane Doe, whose brave story commenced the public exposure of the sex abuse epidemic across the Olympic movement.
The woman involved in this matter are further reminders of the importance of using the utmost care and attention to the coaches who get access to children.
We are making slow and steady progress in developing sound child protection systems but people should not fool themselves for a second in thinking that the Andy Kings of the world are gone. Pedophiles like him will continue to try and get access to children so they can molest them.
The only way that we can halt them is through strict adherence to the highest of standards when it comes to protecting vulnerable minor athletes.”
The allegations claim that USA Swimming and Pacific Swimming “placed the profits and reputations of their organizations above the safety of their young, vulnerable female athletes.”
“As a result, plaintiff has suffered from serious, life-long symptoms and emotional and psychological trauma,” the lawsuit reads.
A.H. believes that by March of 1985, USA Swimming, Pacific Swimming and San Ramon Valley Aquatics were aware that King had engaged in highly inappropriate grooming behavior and sexual misconduct with his minor female athletes, and knew of the relationships he had with nationally acclaimed swimmers Diane Turner and Grodensky.
“They all looked the other way, placing their profits and reputations above the safety of young, vulnerable female athletes like A.H.,” Allard told Business Wire.
“He’d make sexually inappropriate comments to her and have her sit on his lap during swim practice,” Allard said. “He gave her gifts and paid special attention to her, even telling her how mature she was and talking about the possibility of a future together.”
King was arrested for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old San Jose Aquatics swimmer on April 2, 2009. He was charged with multiple violations of Penal Code 288 (molestation of a child).
In September 2009, he was convicted of three counts of Penal Code 288(c) and 17 counts of 288(a), pleading no contest to criminal charges brought by the San Jose girls and three East Bay swimmers.
King was sentenced to 40 years in state prison.
A.H. was a known victim of King’s 10 years ago but was not ready to testify against him at the time, so she was left out as one of the named victims.
In June 2020, three separate lawsuits were filed by the original six women against USA Swimming, alleging that the organization failed to protect them from King, and two other banned coaches, Mitch Ivey and Everett Uchiyama. Grodensky was one of three named victims in the lawsuits.
In addition to representing King’s victims, Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard also represent two Uchiyama victims, including named victim Tracy Palmero.
Backstory: King’s History Of Abuse
Details are courtesy of the lawsuit filed by Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard.
King was hired at San Ramon Valley (SRV) Aquatics in 1980. Prior to that, he groomed Turner while coaching at another USA Swimming/Pacific Swimming member club located about 14 miles north of SRV. The lawsuit says that King began having an intimate relationship with Turner when she was 17 years old and married her when she was 19.
While at SRV, King engaged in “highly inappropriate behavior with the club’s young female swimmers,” including offering them massages, helping to shave their legs, and having them sit on his lap while on pool deck.
Beginning in 1980, King began to use his coaching position to groom Grodensky prior to making sexual advances. He began sexually assaulting her when she was 12.
While she was still a minor in 1984, information regarding Grodensky’s inappropriate relationship with King began to circulate around the swimming community, so much so that Grodensky would be asked about it by her competitors at swim meets.
Grodensky qualified for the 1984 U.S. Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the age of 15 where King was the team chaperone and had sexual intercourse with her for the first time.
King asked Grodsenky to marry her on her 16th birthday, and she became concerned and quit swimming for a period of time.
A.H. began swimming at SRV Aquatics around 1977-1978 and was first groomed by King around 1982 when she was 12.
Similar to his other victims, things escalated over time, and, in March of 1985, King had intercourse with A.H. for the first time. After three months of abuse, she quit swimming in June 1985.
King’s contract with SRV Aquatics was not renewed in the summer of 1985, due in part to his inappropriate relationship with Grodensky, and he went on to coach at Chabot Aquatics in California.
A.H. believes that between coaching at SRV Aquatics and Chabot Aquatics, King assaulted at least 10 young female swimmers. King impregnated one underage swimmer, resulting in her undergoing an abortion.
King’s conduct was widely known in the swimming community. Kelly says she overheard a conversation during practice between Pacific Swimming representatives wherein one of them openly acknowledged that King was a “pedophile, and/or child molester and was sleeping with his swimmers.”
Kelly alleges that neither of these individuals took action to protect female swimmers from King.
King left the Bay Area in 1993 amid allegations of sexual misconduct and was hired by a USA Swimming member club in Oak Harbor, Washington. At least two women reported King’s sexual misconduct with a young female swimmer to the police, prompting an investigation. King abruptly resigned in June 1997 on the eve of a public meeting where the allegations were to be discussed.
King was hired in 1998 by SOS Swim Team, where he engaged in more highly inappropriate behavior with female swimmers. It is alleged that he sexually assaulted at least one young female swimmer while with the club.
King became a coach at San Jose Aquatics in 2001. In September 2002, a parent from the swim club in Oak Harbor, Washington made a complaint to USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, notifying him that her daughter had been sexually abused by King. Wielgus allegedly told the parent that USA Swimming would conduct an internal investigation, but it never took place.
Kelly then submitted a written complaint in January 2003 to Pacific Swimming’s representatives about King’s inappropriate behavior. The complaints were forwarded to USA Swimming and Wielgus, but no action was taken by either USA Swimming or Pacific Swimming against King, nor did they conduct an investigation. Wielgus allegedly ordered a Pacific Swimming representative to not take any action and keep Kelly’s complaint “confidential.”
After sexually assaulting a female swimmer at San Jose Aquatics between May 2008 and March 2009, the swimmer notified her youth pastor of the abuse, who reported it to the authorities, leading to King’s April arrest.