USA Swimming hit by another sexual abuse lawsuit

New lawsuit by Cerri, Boskovich & Allard alleges USA Swimming’s quest for profit allowed serial sexual predator Andy King to abuse young East Bay swimmer

Yet another swimmer has come forward alleging disgraced coach Andy King sexually abused her after he was first exposed as a pedophile.

The allegations are contained in a new lawsuit filed by the law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard that says King used his position of authority “to manipulate and sexually assault over a dozen female swimmers over a 30-year period,” including “A.H.”

A.H. is the anonymous plaintiff in the new case that was filed in Alameda County Superior Court (case #HG21112559).

In addition to USA Swimming, affiliates Pacific Swimming and San Ramon Valley Aquatics are defendants in the lawsuit.

“They all looked the other way, placing their profits and reputations above the safety of young, vulnerable female athletes like A.H.,” attorney Robert Allard said.

Like other young girls coached by King, A.H. dreamed of becoming an Olympic swimmer when she joined San Ramon Valley Aquatics in the late 1970s.

By the early 1980s, when A.H. was around 12 years old, King began grooming her to accept his sexual advances.

“He’d make sexually inappropriate comments to her and have her sit on his lap during swim practice,” Mr. 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.”

A.H. was 14 years old when King stole her innocence in March of 1985.

“We know that in the summer of 1984 people in the Bay Area swimming community were talking about King’s sexual abuse of swimmer Debra Grodensky. In fact, the talk was so widespread that Debra’s competitors even asked her about it but nobody did anything about it.”

Ms. Grodensky is a client of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard. She, too, is suing USA Swimming, along with swimmers Caren McKay and Katie Kelly, alleging King sexually abused them. Their case is set for trial in May of 2022.

King’s contract with San Ramon Valley Aquatics was not renewed in mid-1985 partly due to the Grodensky sexual misconduct. So, King formed Chabot Aquatics in Hayward and continued to sexually assault young girls.

King’s reign of terror finally stopped in 2009, when he was arrested for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old San Jose Aquatics swimmer. He is now serving 40 years in state prison after pleading no contest to the criminal charges brought by the San Jose girl and three East Bay swimmers.

“USA Swimming has fostered a sexual abuse culture,” Mr. Allard said. “In 1991, a USA Swimming committee acknowledged the sexual abuse problem and recommended that steps be taken to protect young athletes. But it wasn’t until 2006 that even basic measures like criminal background checks were implemented. As a result, my clients are still suffering decades later.”

In 2018, the Orange County Register reported that at least 590 athletes were USA Swimming sexual abuse victims and at least 252 swim coaches and officials had been disciplined or banned for sexual abuse or misconduct against athletes under the age of 18.

“As long as USA Swimming fails to take care of these sexually abused athletes, we will continue to fight for victims and file lawsuits to ensure that these athletes are compensated for the lifelong harm caused by the organization,” Mr. Allard said.

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