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After Skater's Hanging, Nagging Questions Remain

Red-hat tributes come amid lack of info on misconduct allegations against John Coughlin
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2019 7:05 AM CST
US figure skating pairs Caydee Denney and John Coughlin speak with reporters in Park City, Utah, on Oct. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
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(Newser) – Pairs figure skating champ John Coughlin died by hanging in his father's home on Jan. 18, a day after learning he'd been suspended from activities associated with US Figure Skating. The manner of death is revealed for the first time in an incident report from the Kansas City Police Department, obtained by USA Today, though many questions remain unanswered. Given the unknowns surrounding allegations of misconduct against the 33-year-old TV commentator and coach, ESPN reports there was "a palpable unease" at the US Championships in Detroit over the past week, even as numerous red hats—replicas of the red Kansas City Chiefs hat Coughlin often wore—were seen throughout Little Caesars Arena.

"It's a very tough situation," says SafeSport's Dan Hill. The organization received a complaint against Coughlin in December, though only his name was revealed under rules meant to protect victims. Coughlin's former agent, Tara Modlin, argues the lack of information prompted potentially harmful speculation. "While I wish I could speak freely about the unfounded allegations levied against me, the SafeSport rules prevent me from doing so since the case remains pending," Coughlin said on Jan. 7. The interim restriction (which ESPN explains is like a restraining order between the relevant parties) levied in December was updated to an interim suspension on Jan. 17, but no reason was given for the status change. Cash-strapped SafeSport's challenge now: deciding whether to continue with its investigation; the US Figure Skating body has urged it to do so. (Read more suicide stories.)

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