MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA) — A world-class swimmer says her former coach groomed her sexually from the time she was a teen.
Ariana Kukors said her former coach Sean Hutchinson took inappropriate photos of her from the time she was 16. They later had a consensual sexual relationship, he says, and no grooming was involved.
But a local swim coach says he heard rumors about the two having a relationship, and he told Huntchinson’s boss to look into it.
CBS2’s Stacey Butler spoke to coach Marc Schubert, who is now the head coach for the Mission Viejo Nadadores.
“A fellow coach from back East called me and said that there were rumors going around the swim meet about Sean. And I was shocked,” said Schubert.
That call came eight years ago when Schubert was coaching Olympic hopefuls at the Olympic Training Center in Fullerton. He worked here with Hutchinson, who was rumored to be having a sexual relationship at the time with then 21-year-old Kukors.
“I felt like I needed to tell somebody. So I told his boss.” Schubert said.
Schubert says the head coach hired a private investigator to follow Hutchinson.
“All they could come up with was Ariana and Sean’s cars parked together at 5 a.m in the morning in front of Sean’s condo,” Schubert says.
Hutchinson and Kukors both denied they were having a sexual relationship, something that would be against USA swimming policy. Without proof, Schubert says, the coach did what he thought was best and he asked Hutchinson to leave.
“I think they came to an agreement that they wouldn’t divulge the problem if he resigned,” Schubert said.
Hutchinson did leave. He returned to Seattle to the swim club he owned — King Aquatics. He didn’t coach, but he and Kukors openly lived together in Seattle while she was in her early 20s.
On Wednesday, just one day after Homeland Security filed an affidavit and searched Hutchinson’s Seattle apartment looking for possible evidence of child porn, Kukors accused him of sexually abusing her at a teenager when she swam with Hutchinson before coming to Orange County.
In a statement, she said: “I never thought I would share my story because, in so many ways, just surviving was enough. I was able to leave a horrible monster and build a life I could have never imagined for myself. But in time, I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten.”
Hutchinson responded with his own statement: “I absolutely deny having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself. Prior to that time, I did nothing to ‘groom’ her.”
Schubert wishes they had done more to help Kukors at the time.
He said USA Swimming failed miserably in this case where they supposedly thoroughly investigated Hutchinson in late 2010 and exonerated him.