A Florida federal judge has ruled in favor of tennis professional Kylie McKenzie, determining that the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) failed to adequately supervise her coach, Anibal Aranda, who sexually assaulted her. The ruling opens the door to a jury trial.
U.S. District Judge Paul G. Byron, in his recent order, granted partial summary judgment, affirming that an internal USTA investigation verified Aranda’s “engagement in sexual misconduct” with McKenzie in 2018, when she was 19, and also revealed an incident involving the coach four years earlier. The USTA‘s own records documented 31 reports of sexual abuse within the sport between 2013 and 2018, indicating its awareness of the pervasive issue of sexual abuse among amateur athletes, as stated by Judge Byron.
The judge emphasized that since the USTA oversees both the training facility and coaches for athletes in its program, individuals like McKenzie depend on the organization to take reasonable measures to prevent instances of abuse during training sessions and events. McKenzie argued that the USTA shares a “special relationship” with its players, similar to the duty of care universities owe to their adult students, thus imposing an obligation to protect athletes in its training program from sexual assault — a claim the court supported.