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Just two months ago former San Jose swim coach Andrew King was sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing the young girls that he coached. But now new allegations are emerging that accuse the entire organization of Swim USA of failing to properly conduct background checks and thereby perpetuating a culture in youth swimming that ignored the young girls’ pleas for help.

The lawsuit, filed by San Jose attorney B. Robert Allard, accuses at least 32 Swim USA coaches at swim clubs across the United States of abusing their young swimmers since 1993. Allard specifically represents a 15-year-old San Jose girl who was repeatedly abused by King over a ten-month period. Furthermore, the suit specifies that the list of the 32 accused coaches is not “all-inclusive” and seeks unspecified damages against King, San Jose Aquatics, Pacific Swimming (the West Coast branch of USA Swimming), and USA Swimming. Allard is asking all swimmers that have been abused by their swim coaches to contact him. He also asked that individuals with information about abuse to come forward with the information.

Most recently, 1972 Olympic gold medal swimmer Deena Deerdurff Smith came forward to tell her story to lend support to Allard’s claims. During her interview, she alleged that she was continuously and repeatedly molested by her swimming coach starting at age 11 and continuing for four years—a coach that she left unnamed but described as a “legendary USA Swimming coach”. Deerdurff Smith first attempted to complain about the abuse in the 1980s but was told that she was required to get another USA Swimming coach to “vouch” for her and formally write the complaint. She was unable to find another coach willing to do so, but years later was contacted by a top official at USA Swimming about her former swimming coach being considered from the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Again, she attempted to complain about the abuse but her former coach was elected to the Hall of Fame anyway.

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