Athlete Sues Coach, USA Swimming for Abuse

Swimmer: Sport's governing body didn't protect me

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 12, 2010 3:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – A former swimmer who says her coach sexually abused her for 5 years starting when she was just 15 has filed suit against the coach and USA Swimming. Jancy Thompson says the abuse from coach Norm Havercroft forced her to give up the sport she loved and abandon her dream of becoming an Olympian, the San Jose Mercury News reports. USA Swimming, the national governing body of the sport, allowed Havercroft to continue coaching despite abuse allegations, according to her lawyer.

Thompson says that in addition to sexual abuse, Havercroft also publicly humiliated her by making her swim wearing a dog collar attached to a leash he was holding when she didn't meet his standards. Thompson, now 28, says she gained the courage to speak out after another abused swimmer came forward. USA Swimming has named 36 coaches who have been banned for molesting young athletes, although Havercroft wasn't among them.

Jancy Thompson says she was sexually abused by her swimming coach for five years from the age of 15.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Jancy Thompson sits next to her attorney Robert Allard as they announce the swimmer's lawsuit yesterday in San Jose, California.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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