Sean Hutchinson‘s permanent ban from Olympic sports is now finalized, which was confirmed by the US Center for Safe Sport on Monday in an e-mail to Olympian Ariana Kukors Smith and her attorney Bob Allard. Shortly after the email was sent, Hutchison’s ban was posted on the Center’s public website.
Hutchinson, Kukors’s former coach at the now-defunct USA Swimming Center of Excellence at FAST, was handed a permanent ban on October 5th after the Center’s investigation into claims made by Kukors that Hutchinson had groomed and sexually abused her for years.
According to documents on the SafeSport website:
If a violation of the Code is found, the Responding Party shall have five business days from receipt of the Director’s notice to request a hearing concerning the Director’s Decision. The Responding Party may request a hearing concerning the Director’s finding(s) that there was a violation of the Code, the sanction or both. If the Responding Party fails to request a hearing within five business days, the Director’s Decision shall go into effect unless the Director determines that the Responding Party has shown good cause for an extension of the time to request a hearing.
The confirmation that the ban is now final would indicate that Hutchinson did not request an appeal hearing during the 30-day appeals period. You can read more details about the entire SafeSport investigation and sanction process in this article.
In the wake of many high-profile allegation of sexual assault over the past year, Kukors Smith went public in February with allegations that Hutchinson, her long-time coach from the age of 13 through her time as a professional as the Fullerton Area Swim Team, had groomed her beginning at the age of 13 and began sexually abusing her when she was 16. Hutchinson quickly categorically denied the allegations.
It’s been quite the winding road since then. Former US National Team head coach Mark Schubert claimed that he had reported rumors of an inappropriate relationship between Hutchinson and Kurkos. Shortly thereafter, Susan Woessner, former director of SafeSport for USA Swimming, resigned after admitting that she had failed to mention a conflict of interest when she had been part of USA Swimming’s investigation into Hutchinson in 2010 that she and Hutchison had been intimate.
In May, Kukors Smith filed a lawsuit against Hutchinson, Schubert, and USA Swimming, seeking to “hold people accountable.” A spokesperson for Allard confirms that the civil side of the accusations is still ongoing. Schubert responded to the suit by denying any wrongdoing.
In August, the Arizona Republic published inappropriate text messages from Hutchinson and longtime coach Bob Bowman to another USA Swimming Olympian, Caroline Burckle.