2009 World Champion Ariana Kukors Alleges Former Coach Sean Hutchison Sexually Abused Her

Investigators have searched the Seattle home the 46-year-old Sean Hutchinson Photo Courtesy: Facebook

In reports from various sources, 2009 World Champion Ariana Kukors alleges that her former coach Sean Hutchison sexually assaulted her when she was 16 and continued to have sexual contact with her until she was 24.

There were also allegations that Hutchison took nude photos of an underaged swimmer while he was head coach. This prompted investigators to search Hutchison’s Seattle home. Officers seized Hutchison’s computers and cell phones, according to a report from Daily News in Los Angeles.

Hutchison has not been criminally charged as the investigation is ongoing.

“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. Not for the sake of you knowing my story, but for the little girls and boys whose lives and future hangs in the grasp of a horribly powerful and manipulative person. That they may not have to go through the same pain, trauma, horror, and abuse. That their parents, mentors, and guardians are better able to spot the signs of grooming and realize it’s tragic consequences before it’s too late,” said Kukors.

Kukors said Hutchison began grooming her for a sexual relationship when she was 13 while she was a swimmer at KING Aquatic Club in Seattle. She also said he sexually assaulted her at 16 and continued to have a sexual relationship until she was 24.

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Ariana Kukors Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Hutchison was an assistant coach for the women at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing after he coached multiple swimmers from KING to Olympic spots. He was named head coach of the 2009 World Championship team a year later. Later that year, he was named head coach of a new professional training base in Fullerton, California where names like Katie HoffKate ZieglerKara Lynn Joyce and Kukors flocked to train.

According to The Seattle Post, investigators have searched the Seattle home of the 46-year-old Hutchison looking for the nude photos.

Hutchison resigned from the position in Fullerton in 2010 after rumors that he and Kukors were romantically involved. According to the report from the Los Angeles Daily News, former U.S. national team director Mark Schubert acknowledged that he reported rumors about the relationship between Hutchison and Kukors to the Washington Post in December 2010. Hutchison resigned from coaching after the rumors. However, Hutchinson was later cleared of any wrongdoing by USA Swimming after the organization launched a full investigation.

USA Swimming released the following statement back on February 14, 2011 (Valentine’s Day):

“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,” said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming’s executive director. “Additionally, after we received the report, we felt it was important to correct the false rumors.”

“We value the well-being of all of our members and false statements or rumors can be extremely detrimental to our athlete protection efforts,” said Susan Woessner, USA Swimming’s Athlete Protection Officer. “We want to encourage those with credible and specific information to always come forward, and those who would spread false rumors disrespect this effort.”

Swimming World has reached out to USA Swimming Safe director Susan Woessner for comment at this time and will update this story with any new information.

13 Comments

13 comments

  1. Kelly Howell

    Tragic!! It appears he is still involved with KING 😓

    • Steve Schaffer

      He owns King, but is not coaching. Currently I believe he is a fugitive from authorities so he won’t be involve with athletes any time soon.

      • avatar
        BobC

        “Hutchinson has not been criminally charged,” so not a fugitive. The article gives no indication Sean is on the run in any case.
        Would like to know where you are getting your info?

  2. avatar
    Fred

    … but the relationship continued to age 24? Someone help me understand how that happens if he abused her. That seems rather complicated in light of the accusation. I hope the facts come out but he is ruined either way. Hopefully if guilty, tragically if not.

    • avatar
      bobdog

      16? To paraphrase the late Nancy Reagan, “Just say rape”.

  3. Lance Holter

    Tragic that USA Swimming cleared him back and 2011 and then had their Athlete Protection Officer write, ““We value the well-being of all of our members and false statements or rumors can be extremely detrimental to our athlete protection efforts. We want to encourage those with credible and specific information to always come forward, and those who would spread false rumors disrespect this effort.” Looks like maybe those “false” rumors being referenced weren’t so false. Doesn’t gain USA Swimming much credibility in conducting “full investigations.”

    • avatar
      Fred

      My understanding is she denied a relationship in 2011. That with her continued relationship until age 24 makes this all that more strange. My speculation is that the truth is in the middle, but no coach should ever be anything more than a professional on deck. This kind of mess would never happen then or rarely would.

  4. avatar
    Steve Schaffer

    To BobC above – I think you missed two important details. First, I prefaced my comments with “I believe” indicating that it is my belief, not a statement of fact. I read all of the articles, and between what was written and what was not, it is not at all clear that Sean was present when the search warrants were executed. Nor has he come forward to refute any of the allegations. Therefore, I BELIEVE that he is in hiding, or laying low. Which brings me to the second point you missed. A person in hiding from or avoiding the authorities IS a fugitive. By definition. The definition of fugitive has nothing to do with whether charges were filed.

    fu·gi·tive
    ˈfyo͞ojədiv/Submit
    noun
    a person who has escaped from a place or is in hiding, especially to avoid arrest or persecution.

    • avatar
      BOb C

      Uncanny explanation of a cut and paste of the word ‘fugitive.’ You seem to be missing the point; Sean is not escaping or hiding. He is not avoiding arrest or persecution. So my two cents based on your definition, is that Sean is not a fugitive.

      • avatar
        Steve Schaffer

        If that is indeed the case, then clearly my belief would wrong. Looking forward to Sean’s coming forward and addressing the allegations.

    • avatar
      Richard Saunders

      Making comments with absolutely no facts is ridiculous and should stop – if you are a coach you should know better!

  5. avatar
    JM

    The article avoids saying who the nude photo is of… if the nudie was of Ariana, it would make sense that she would want to reject the bad image projected of her, as a sexually wayward athlete. The only way to do this is to accuse her coach of abuse. But it is hard to miss the obvious… she had an 8-year relationship with her coach; well into adulthood (albeit, young and stupid adulthood). An 8-year sexual relationship doesn’t sound like abuse; however, petting with a 16 year old is illegal in some statutes.

  6. avatar
    Suellen Stevens

    A relationship with a coach is inappropriate whether current or former and should not be characterized as ‘ok’. A coach is in ( and will always) be in a position of power over the athlete.

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Author: Andy Ross

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Andy Ross graduated Cum Laude from Southern Illinois University where he studied Radio and Television and Journalism. He is a native of West Lafayette, Indiana and has been on board with Swimming World since January 2015.

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