Female Swimmer Sues UMBC, Alleging Mishandling of Abuse Claims


Female Swimmer Sues UMBC, Alleging Mishandling of Abuse Claims

A former swimmer at UMBC has sued the university, alleging that former swimming and diving coach Chad Cradock mishandled complaints of abuse.

The suit is on top of a recent outside investigation into misconduct by Cradock, who resigned in December 2020. Cradock committed suicide in March 2021.

The university began looking into conduct by Cradock in late 2020. The final report, completed in July by an outside law firm and reported last week by The Baltimore Sun, found Cradock, “engaged in sexual harassment and created a hostile environment, in violation of the university’s discrimination policy.” In addition to the report, swimmers have been interviewed by investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice. An investigation is also open from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Among the findings is that Cradock engaged in inappropriate touching and harassment of members of the men’s team while disengaging his attention from the women’s team. The lawsuit filed this week involves the latter set of failures.

The lawsuit was brought by a swimmer who has since graduated from UMBC. Neither the swimmer nor her alleged abuser were identified.

The suit contends that Cradock improperly handled complaints of abuse, coercion and stalking by a male swimmer with whom she was in a relationship. The female swimmer reported the abuse to Cradock, who allowed several months to pass before reporting it to the Title IX coordinator and delayed police intervention when the relationship turned abusive.

The victim alleges that officials took no action against her abuser, which forced her to avoid the dormitory that they both lived in for fear of him. When the stress of the situation forced her to miss practices, Cradock threatened to revoke her scholarship and to retaliate if she went directly to the Title IX coordinator. Cradock also set up a surprise meeting between her and her abuser in which he sought to mediate.

Cradock had been at UMBC for decades. He competed there in the 1990s and became an assistant coach before ascending to the head coaching job in 2001. He won more than 200 meets at the helm of the Retrievers.

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