Lawsuit Alleges an Olympic Fencer Sexually Abused a Young Sunnyvale Athlete

The sexual abuse law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard has filed a sexual abuse lawsuit alleging that USA Fencing, the national governing body for the sport of fencing in the United States, was negligent in its supervision of a Bay Area Olympic fencer turned coach which led to the sexual abuse of a young Sunnyvale athlete.

The lawsuit alleges that coach Ra’ad Rabieh, an Olympic fencer from Jordan, and coach/owner of the Sunnyvale International Fencing Academy sexually abused the underage athlete, Jane Doe, starting in 2015. 

The complaint states that USA Fencing knew of Rabieh’s sexual misconduct history with young athletes going back to his time as a coach in Arizona in 2002. 

While Rabieh admitted to having an inappropriate sexual relationship with Jane Doe while she was a minor, the District Attorney’s Office dropped charges against Rabieh while the case was in the preliminary hearing stage. The judge stated to Rabieh, 

The Court is not happy with the information that it heard from this young lady.  The fact that she was under 18 for most of the incidents that this Court has heard today- you know better than anyone else, sir that coaches hold a high regard in young people’s eyes. . . The Court heard information of other sexual acts between the parties that may have qualified for other felony sexual assault charges.

The lawsuit claims that for years prior to Jane Doe’s abuse, USA Fencing ignored repeated incidents of their coaches sexually abusing athletes. And in at least one instance, despite credible accusations against Olympic fencer Alen Hazdic, he was allowed to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Despite numerous instances of abusive coach-athlete relationships, USA Fencing did not create any policies or procedures in place to ensure the safety of their minor athletes, including restrictions on travel between adult coach and minor athlete, restrictions on private one-on-one interactions between adult coach and minor athlete, or mandatory training on boundary invasion and how to make a report, if necessary, states the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit also claims that before Rabieh started sexually assaulting Jane Doe in 2015, he regularly and openly groomed her in the presence of other Fencing representatives by holding her hand during out-of-state flights and while walking down the hallways of their hotel. It was not until 2019 that USA Fencing finally adopted formal athlete abuse prevention policies which, if in place during Jane Doe’s time as an athlete, would have prevented her abuse. 

Rabieh remains on the USA Fencing list of banned individuals. 
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