Report: Before Death, Skater Was Accused of Misconduct With Minors

John Coughlin died by suicide Friday
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2019 4:33 AM CST
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In this Oct. 1, 2013 photo, US figure skating pairs Caydee Denney and John Coughlin speak with reporters during a news conference in Park City, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
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(Newser) – John Coughlin, the US figure skating champion who took his own life Friday, was facing no fewer than three allegations of sexual misconduct, two of them involving minors, a source tells USA Today. The source says the US Center for SafeSport, which sanctioned Coughlin in December after an allegation involving a person over 18, received the two allegations involving minors in recent weeks. The center, which was set up in 2017 to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct involving Olympic athletes, decided to hand the 33-year-old Coughlin an interim suspension Thursday night. He was found dead at his father's home in Kansas City the next day. After the initial allegation, Coughlin said it was "unfounded" but rules prevented him from speaking freely about it.

The interim suspension meant Coughlin, a two-time US pairs champion and the chair of the International Skating Union's athletes committee, was banned from taking part in any activities organized by US Figure Skating or the US Olympic Committee, including this week's national figure skating championships in Detroit. In a statement Saturday, USFS said it was "stunned" by Coughlin's death and out of respect for his family, it would have no further comment until a later time. "This is tragic any way you look at it," two-time Olympian Randy Gardner said in a statement, per CNN. "With the allegations still unknown, we have yet to know the pressure he may have been under. I hate to hear of this as we're also trying to protect the athletes in our sport." (Read more figure skating stories.)

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