Two former female divers filed a lawsuit against USA Diving for allegedly failing to protect them against sexual abuse from their coach.
According to the lawsuit, former diving coach William Bohonyi forced two female athletes to have sex with him and send nude photos of themselves to him. At least one of the athletes was under age at the time of the abuse.
In 2009, a female diver started training with Bohonyi while she attended Indiana University. He allegedly demanded oral sex from her and forced her into participating in at least one sexual act each day while he was her coach. She transferred to a different college during her last two years of school.
Another female athlete, who was just 16 at the time, claimed Bohonyi started to sexually abuse her in 2014. She said she was coerced into “believing she was required to perform sexual services in exchange for her continued involvement in diving.”
“He preyed on her age, vulnerability, and dreams of becoming an Olympian and used the power structure and imbalance of power (coach/athlete) to make her believe she was required to sexually service him in exchange for her involvement in diving for Team USA,” the lawsuit claims.
After one of her teammates reported the abuse, the university put Bohonyi on an administrative leave and opened up an investigation. The university terminated Bohonyi a couple of weeks later. However, the lawsuit claims that the university had possession of nude photos of the underage diver and no legal action was taken.
The lawsuit claims that USA Diving didn’t report Bohonyi to police as required by law for being a serial rapist.
“USA Diving knew or was willfully blind to the fact that … Bohonyi presented a clear and present danger to young female athletes,” it says.
Cait Cohn, USA Diving’s social media and communications coordinator responded to the lawsuit by saying, “Providing a safe environment for our members is of tremendous importance to USA Diving, and we take these matters very seriously. USA Diving is unable to comment further at this time.”