USAWP Statement on Bahram Hojreh, IWPC Sexual Misconduct Allegations $13.85M Settlement

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Editor’s Note: Following is statement released Monday by USA Water Polo regarding a settlement in a civil action against Bahram Hojreh, the Anaheim Unified School District, the Irvine Unified School District, the International Water Polo Club, USA Water Polo and USAWP CEO Christopher Ramsey and USAWP Senior Director of Membership & SafeSport Compliance Christy Sicard.

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The insurer for International Water Polo Club (IWPC) has agreed to pay $13.85 million to settle allegations, brought by twelve IWPC female athletes, that IWPC coach, Bahram Hojreh, engaged in sexual misconduct.  The settlement includes releases for all parties insured by the insurer, including USA Water Polo and its employees. Mr. Hojreh has been indicted and is awaiting trial.  He is not a party to the settlement agreement.

usawp“We have heard the plaintiffs’ testimony, and their allegations are heartbreaking,” said Christopher Ramsey, CEO of USA Water Polo.  “These are young women who have grown up in the USA Water Polo family. We hope that this allows them to begin a new chapter in their lives. As an organization that prides itself on member safety policies that aim to prevent abuse, their allegations underscore–alongside our partnership with the US Center for SafeSport–that there is always more work to be done. It is also a serious reminder to our water polo community that we must all remain vigilant to identify and report abuse.”

Although the plaintiffs testified that the alleged abuse occurred between 2012 and 2017, plaintiffs’ testimonies indicate that they never informed USAWP of Mr. Hojreh’s alleged sexual misconduct against them or anyone else.  USA Water Polo first learned of the allegations against IWPC and Mr. Hojreh on January 18, 2018 from the U.S. Center for SafeSport (the “Center”), the independent watchdog established by Congress and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to assume exclusive jurisdiction over allegations of sexual misconduct in the Olympic movement.  Upon being notified by the Center, USAWP immediately suspended Mr. Hojreh’s membership. Neither Mr. Hojreh nor IWPC have been USAWP members since 2018.

[Settlement of $13.85M Reached in Civil Suit Involving Water Polo Coach Bahram Hojreh]

USAWP is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport and has more than 500 member clubs, such as IWPC, each of which are independent businesses that hire and supervise their own coaches.  Members sign codes of conduct to abide by the law, as well as USA Water Polo’s athlete safety policies and the Center’s Code of Conduct. Coaches and officials must be background checked and complete SafeSport training.

USA Water Polo has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind.  The organization fully complies with the Center’s policies and supports its mission to eradicate abuse in sport across the Olympic movement.  As a member benefit, USA Water Polo’s omnibus insurance policies provide coverage for its member clubs — coverage that is generally required by the aquatic facilities used by clubs for games and practices.  Those insurance policies are funding the IWPC settlement.

“We are committed to protecting kids from any abuse,” said Mr. Ramsey, “It is USAWP’s policy to take immediate action when, as in this case, USAWP learns about allegations of misconduct. As a sport, we are committed to the safety and fair treatment of both child and adult athletes. To do so, we are equally committed to working collaboratively with our members in providing them with the best support and resources to keep all athletes safe.”

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