USA Swimming Investigated Hutchison/Kukors In 2010, Statement Confirms

A statement from USA Swimming this morning confirms that the federation received a tip and conducted an investigation into an allegedly inappropriate relationship between coach Sean Hutchison and National Team swimmer Ariana Kukors in 2010.

USA Swimming says it became aware of a rumored relationship between the two based on information from a third party. The federation says it conducted an investigation with a private investigator that included interviews with Hutchison, Kukors and Kukors’ sister Emily. All three “unequivocably” denied the existence of a sexual or romantic relationship at the time, according to USA Swimming.

With the alleged victim (Kukors) denying the complaint, USA Swimming says it had “no basis to conclude that a Code of Conduct violation occurred, and the case was closed.”

Kukors’ attorney Bob Allard confirmed that early investigation. He says the investigation interviewed Kukors, who, “because she was in the midst of an abusive relationship, denied that she was in a relationship with [Hutchison].”

Kukors went public yesterday with allegations that Hutchison began “grooming” her at the age of 13 and sexually abusing her at the age of 16, all while he was her coach. USA Swimming’s full statement on the matter is below:

Ariana Kukors’ recent public statement marked the first time USA Swimming learned of the allegations that Sean Hutchison sexually abused Ariana when she was a minor. Our hearts go out to Ariana and the difficulty she has gone through to reach this point of disclosure. We fully support her in her case for answers and justice and applaud her courage in sharing her story in an effort to empower victims and protect athletes.
“In 2010, USA Swimming became aware of a rumored relationship between Hutchison and then 21-year-old Ariana via a third-party. Based on the information, USA Swimming retained an independent private investigator and conducted a full investigation into the rumor and the possible Code of Conduct violation.
“During the USA Swimming investigation, both Ariana and Hutchison, as well as Ariana’s sister, Emily, unequivocally denied the existence of a romantic or sexual relationship.
“With the denials from both parties, the investigation provided no basis to conclude that a Code of Conduct violation occurred, and the case was closed. Hutchison left coaching shortly thereafter but remains a member of USA Swimming as the owner of a member club based in Seattle.
“In January 2018, USA Swimming was notified of a Center for Safe Sport case regarding Hutchison and we have proactively sent over the 2010 case file to aid their investigation and support in any possible way.
“Over the last several years, Ariana has worked with USA Swimming as on-camera talent in its digital productions and has truly become a member of the family. We stand by her, and all other victims, in their quest to break their silence and confront their horrific experiences.”

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43 Comments on "USA Swimming Investigated Hutchison/Kukors In 2010, Statement Confirms"

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Kirk Nelson

Considering the timing you’ve got to wonder if USA Swimming essentially told him he was persona non grata even if they were unable to outright ban him.

Steve Nolan

“Ariana Kukors’ recent public statement marked the first time USA Swimming learned of the allegations that Sean Hutchison sexually abused Ariana when she was a minor.”

“In 2010, USA Swimming became aware of a rumored relationship between Hutchison and then 21-year-old Ariana via a third-party. ”

I meeeean, this strains credibility. Assuming that’s their story to cover their asses, but come on.

Steve Nolan

Hi, everybody – read her full statement and get back to me. Or, ya know, maybe just this part:

In January of 2011, USA Swimming investigated the claims made against Sean and myself. The extent of my part in the investigation was me spending a few minutes on the phone with a private investigator. 19 questions I counted. I was scared. I lied. I had never felt more alone in all my life.

Several weeks later, USA Swimming aggressively closed the book on the investigation, putting out a public statement saying they had found no wrongdoing, and calling rumors about Sean “malicious lies.”

They can say what they said, legally, maybe. Their investigation was still wholly inadequate.

A rumor is one thing, but if no one is pressing charges, it’s hard to act on them, even if you think it would be the right thing to do.

Kirk Nelson

Not really. The key bit is “…when she was a minor.”

Steve Nolan

I think they have a responsibility to go farther than they did. They knew of those rumors when she was 21. He’d been her coach for the prior 7 years. To not consider that history seems awfully shortsighted, especially given the claim that they “conducted a full investigation.”

I know a bit of this is hindsight now that the populace in general is a bit more educated when it comes to this stuff, but jeez.

NOT going to defend USA Swimming on how they handled anything last time this topic blew up a few years back. I have railed against them often. BUT – in 2010 they learned of allegations of a 21 yr old with Hutchison. This current story actually WAS the first time USA Swimming – or anyone publicly – learned of allegations that he abused her as a MINOR.

coachymccoachface

I’m not sure there was much more USA Swimming could do if she and her sister denied a relationship. Makes it a little interesting that the lawyers statement portrayed USA Swimming in a negative light. Is attacking USA Swimming a way to get more publicity on the case or does Ariana actually feel she was wronged by USA swimming?

Steve Nolan

I think part of it boils down to how inadequate the system is.

“Hey, did you guys do the crimes? No? OK, we’re cool.”

Steve look up the Rianda case which details allegations about the investigation into the rumored relationship between Kukors and Hutchison.

Steve. That comment shows how little you understand the current board of review process. A victim cannot justice if they deny abuse. You can’t force someone to tell the truth. Ariana was clearly in a difficult position. She’d been groomed from a young age, was in a relationship with a coach she trusted and obviously had feeling for on some level, and was likely worried that admitting that there was a relationship would ruin her chances of making the team. The process is a good one and I am sure that the allegations were investigated seriously. What do you expect? Should we waterboard the victim to get her to admit abuse?

Steve Nolan

I understand what the system is and was. It’s still a bad system that needs to work more proactively than retroactively. (It’s better now than when Kukors was first interviewed.)

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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