Ex-Olympic skater Ashley Wagner writes of 2008 sex assault
FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2018, file photo, Ashley Wagner waits for her scores during the women's free skate event at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif. Former Olympian Ashley. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, August 1, 2019 11:17AM EDT
Former Olympian Ashley Wagner says she was sexually assaulted by another figure skater in 2008 when she was 17.
The three-time national champion writes in USA Today on Thursday that John Coughlin climbed into her bed after a party at a skating camp and began kissing and groping her. Coughlin was 22 at the time and took his life in January at 33.
Wagner says she was "absolutely paralyzed in fear."
Wagner won an Olympic team bronze medal in 2014 and is now retired from competitive skating. She says she feared speaking out earlier because she competes in a sport where judges determine success. She tells the newspaper two factors helped change her mind -- the emergence of the #MeToo movement and Coughlin's coaching suspension in January by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
USA Today also reports that Coughlin's former pairs partner from 2004-07, Bridget Namiotka, posted on Facebook in May that Coughlin "sexually abused" her for two years.