COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Paralympic swimmer Parker Egbert was once many times assaulted and raped via teammate Robert Griswold for over a 12 months, and the Colorado Springs-based U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee was once complicit and negligent in permitting it to occur, in step with a lawsuit filed past due closing week within the U.S. District Courtroom of Colorado.
Egbert, 19, a Paralympic swimmer who was once born with autism and has developmental prolong and highbrow incapacity, competed for the US within the 2020 Paralympic Video games in Tokyo.
The lawsuit alleges Egbert was once “being violently and many times sexually assaulted and stressed via his teammate, Defendant Robert Griswold.” Egbert is represented via Salzano, Ettinger, Lampert & Wilson of New York and San Francisco-based Erickson Kramer Osborne; the legislation companies are representing Paralympic athletes who allege they had been sexually abused via Griswold, in step with the Erickson Kramer Osborne web page.
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Along with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the swimsuit named the U.S. Heart for SafeSport as a defendant. The Denver-based nonprofit, funded via the USOPC, was once created in 2017 to offer protection to athletes from sexual attack and abuse, however has confronted grievance over its efforts, in step with nationwide information tales.
Griswold, identified with cerebral palsy, was once Egbert’s Paralympic teammate and traveled with him to Japan for the 2020 Paralympic Video games, which came about in 2021 on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawsuit alleges that Griswold acted as Egbert’s “de-facto chaperone” all the way through the contest, rooming in combination within the Olympic Village. The lawsuit additionally alleges that Griswold was once assigned to be Egbert’s manager all the way through the contest, slightly than an authorized grownup manager.
“Remarkably, Defendant USOPC and Defendant U.S. Heart for SafeSport allowed Griswold to oversee and proportion a bed room with Plaintiff with none oversight, even though USOPC and SafeSport had gained experiences that Griswold was once sexually assaulting different teammates,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims that Griswold was once added to the SafeSport database in 2020 for “allegations of misconduct,” however had his suspension lifted previous to the Olympics.
“The allegations introduced forth via the criticism filed nowadays are extraordinarily relating to and we take them very severely,” stated Jon Mason, a USOPC spokesman. “We’ve made the verdict to put two group of workers participants on administrative go away and feature additionally stopped the paintings of a number of contractors with U.S. Paralympics Swimming. We’re additionally proceeding our investigation of the allegations to lend a hand us decide the details, and we’re dedicated to taking suitable motion.”
Griswold competed for the U.S. Paralympic group in 2016 and 2020, successful two gold medals and a bronze medal all the way through the ones competitions.
The lawsuit alleges that Egbert was once many times assaulted and raped during the contest in 2021, such a lot in order that Egbert required surgical operation for the wear brought about via Griswold. Moreover, Griswold instructed Egbert that he “would get in hassle” and “the police would come” if he ever instructed somebody in regards to the alleged attacks.
Egbert stated inside the lawsuit that Griswold would inform him “that is what I deserve,” all the way through those attacks.
Following the Paralympics in 2021, Egbert instructed his oldsters that he was once being assaulted via Griswold, however that the USOPC brushed aside the claims after they had been introduced ahead via Egbert’s oldsters.
“Plaintiff’s oldsters expressed their considerations to the USOPC, however the USOPC failed to analyze the problem and summarily and dismissively instructed Plaintiff’s oldsters that Plaintiff was once simply nice, and that Griswold posed completely no possibility to Plaintiff,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims that the efforts from the USOPC to cover the attacks had been partly because of Griswold’s standing as “a premier swimmer” and since his oldsters had been “deeply embedded with leaders during the U.S. Paralympic swimming group.”
The alleged rape and attack towards Egbert persisted thru August 2022 when Egbert and Griswold had been each dwelling and coaching on the Olympic and Paralympic Coaching Heart in Colorado Springs, in spite of the USOPC’s assurances that the whole lot was once nice between the 2 swimmers, in step with the lawsuit.
“It’s axiomatic that every one people should be safe from the lifelong bodily, psychological, and mental trauma inevitably attributable to abuse. That expectation is exceedingly heightened when the ones people are within the custody and care of entities corresponding to Defendant USOPC, which ceaselessly assures athletes (in addition to their oldsters and guardians) that it operates and maintains a protected surroundings and guarantees to offer protection to athletes in its custody and care,” the lawsuit reads. “Along with USOPC’s particular and implicit assurances, USOPC has a Congressionally-created prison responsibility — pursuant to the Protective Younger Sufferers from Sexual Abuse and Secure Game Authorization Act of 2017 … to offer protection to athletes from abuse.”
Griswold was once quickly suspended from coaching in August 2022 because of the alleged attacks of Egbert.
“Parker Egbert filed a lawsuit nowadays in Colorado federal courtroom towards Robert Griswold, the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and U.S. Heart for SafeSport. The motion units forth severe allegations of sexual abuse via Mr. Griswold and asserts that the committees had been accountable and complicit in permitting those heinous acts to happen,” Frank Salzano, of Salzano Ettinger Lampert & Wilson, and Elizabeth Kramer of Erickson Kramer Osborne, stated in a remark supplied to The Gazette. “The details and cases are specified by element within the courtroom submitting and because of this the Egbert circle of relatives may not be making any statements in regards to the topic at the moment. As you’ll believe, this ordeal has been extremely tricky for the Egbert circle of relatives, in addition to the opposite sufferers and households which have been impacted, so we ask that their privateness be revered.”
As a part of the lawsuit Egbert and his circle of relatives are in search of a tribulation for damages brought about via Griswold’s alleged persisted attacks of Egbert, and the USOPC for allegedly masking up the habits of the assailant.
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