World swimming champion says she was abused by US Olympic coach

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Former United States Olympic swimming coach Sean Hutchison has been accused of sexually abusing former Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors when she was underage.

Kukors, now 28, accused 46-year-old Hutchinson of sexually assaulting her starting when she was 16 and continuing to have sexual contact with her until she was 24, the Orange County register reports.

"He took hundreds or thousands of sexually explicit photographs of her", a Homeland Security agent told SeattlePI, suggesting that Kukors thinks Hutchison may have abused others.

"I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough", Kukors said in a statment.

"I absolutely deny having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself".

It comes as US Olympic officials have been accused of being too slow to react to Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse past year. And while news of an alleged relationship between Kukors and Hutchinson hit the news in 2010, and prompted a review by USA Swimming in 2011, the review found no wrongdoing and she says abuse allegedly continued.

In 2010, Hutchison resigned his post at a trainer centre for several top American swimmers, after allegations arose he was engaged in an improper sexual relationship with one of his swimmers.

Kukors' former teammate Margaret Hoelzer said that one reason she retired from swimming was because Hutchinson was a "very emotionally and verbally abusive person" and a "very controlling individual".

'But in time, I've realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten.

She said that through recent therapy and after years of suppressing memories of the pain and suffering, she came to the realization that she was sexually abused. "Prior to that time, I did nothing to "groom" her".

Kukors says that when she reached "the pinnacle of her sport" by qualifying for the 2012 Olympic team, she was petrified of how Hutchinson would react. At the time Hutchison denied the allegations stating that there was no truth behind the rumors and that his resignation was planned so that he could start his own pro swimming team. At the time, Hutchison said the reports were untrue.

In this photo, swimmer Ariana Kukors poses for a portrait during the USOC Portrait Shoot at Smashbox West Hollywood on November 16, 2011, in West Hollywood, California. "It is shocking, it is sad, it is mind boggling", said Olympic gold medalist Megan Jendrick, formerly Megan Quann, who trained with Kukors and was coached for five years by Hutchison.

"I felt like I needed to tell somebody". Her attorneys worked with Homeland Security Investigations and Des Moines Police to execute a search at Hutchison's apartment. "He was 34. I was 16", Kukors wrote. "And I was shocked", said Schubert. I was able to leave a awful monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself.

"While it is not our policy to investigate in the absence of a formal complaint, we acted in the best interest of our athletes, coaches and organization to conduct a full investigation into this situation", Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming's executive director at the time, said in a statement quoted in The Washington Post. He was eventually cleared by USA Swimming. The crimes happened between 2002 and 2007, when the victim turned 18.

Kukors attended Auburn Mountainview High School and the University of Washington.

His swimming club, the King Aquatic Club, did not respond to requests for comment.