Figure Skater Says Former Partner John Coughlin Sexually Abused Her For Years

Former figure skater Bridget Namiotka wrote a series of Facebook posts last weekend, accusing her ex-skating partner John Coughlin of sexual abuse. Coughlin killed himself in January one day after the U.S. Center for SafeSport placed him on interim suspension after he was reported for sexual misconduct, though none of his alleged victims came forward publicly at the time.

Over four Facebook posts, Namiotka wrote that Coughlin abused her for two years. The two skated together as a pair starting in 2004, when Namiotka was 14 and Coughlin was 19, up until 2007. Namiotka also said there were “at least 10” other victims:

I’m sorry but john hurt at least 10 people including me. He sexually abused me for 2 years. Nobody innocent hangs themself. Someone that’s innocent doesn’t hang himself. Think about the victims when you’re speaking up for what he did to at least 10 girls. Think about all of the girls he hurt. Grooming happens. It happened to me and he hurt a lot of girls. Think about the victims.

SafeSport suspended its investigation after Coughin’s death, though in March, it said it had uncovered a “culture of grooming and abuse” in U.S. Figure Skating. Namiotka’s attorney John Manly—who said he represents two other skaters abused by Coughlin—told ESPN today that his clients believe Coughlin’s behavior “was known at high levels of U.S. Figure Skating.”

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