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Lawsuit alleges USA Diving ignored sex abuse of divers

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two former divers are suing USA Diving, accusing the national governing body of ignoring or obstructing inquiries into allegations that a coach sexually abused them when they were young athletes dreaming of Olympic glory.

The federal lawsuit, filed last week, names Indianapolis-based USA Diving, Inc., the Ohio State University Diving Club and Will Bohonyi.

The suit alleges that Bohonyi, who had coached at the Ohio State University Diving Club and was fired in 2014, coerced and forced the divers into frequent sex, telling them, “You owe me this,” the Indianapolis Star reported.

Calls to a telephone listing for Bohonyi’s most recent Columbus, Ohio, address went unanswered.

USA Diving declined to comment Monday, with a spokeswoman saying that, “Providing a safe environment for our members is of tremendous importance to USA Diving, and we take these matters very seriously.”

Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said the school opened an administrative investigation in 2014 after learning about the allegations against Bohonyi and he was fired in August 2014.

The university said Bohonyi was hired as a part-time, paid assistant diving coach in September 2012 and remained in that role until his termination.

Bohonyi has been on USA Diving’s list of banned coaches since 2015, but the lawsuit alleges that action didn’t happen until six months after Ohio State University investigated one of the women’s allegations and fired him. The report, the suit contends, was provided to USA Diving.

During that time period, it alleges that Bohonyi forced that girl — an Olympic hopeful — to perform sex acts numerous times while she was a minor.

She also sent him hundreds of naked photos, the suit alleges, saying that Bohonyi “psychologically coerced” her into believing that she “was required to perform sexual services in exchange for her continued involvement in diving.”

“He preyed on her age, vulnerability, and dreams of becoming an Olympian, and used the power structure and imbalance of power (coach/athlete) to make her believe she was required to sexually service him in exchange for her involvement in diving for Team USA,” it alleges.

The suit also alleges that Ohio State has had possession of the naked photos for almost four years and “no action has been taken.”

Ohio State said it notified campus police, USA Diving and Franklin County Children’s Services, as well as law enforcement in Montgomery County, Maryland, where the lawsuit says teammates discovered the diver’s sexual relationship with Bohonyi at a national competition.

Johnson said Monday that a campus police investigation was opened in August 2014 and then closed at the complainant’s request before being reopened this January, also at the former diver’s request.

He said university police are working with the county prosecutor’s office in that pending investigation.

Allegations of sexual misconduct also are the focus of a separate, independent investigation pending about a now-dead Ohio State team doctor accused of groping male athletes and other students decades ago.

The physician, Richard Strauss, worked at Ohio State for two decades before retiring in 1998. The university says allegations against Strauss have been raised by former athletes from 14 sports. The independent investigators are reviewing those claims and well as whether the university knew of concerns about Strauss.

The other diver named in the lawsuit alleges that starting in 2009, that Bohonyi, who was her coach, cultivated an abusive relationship, eventually coercing her into daily sex.

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Kyle Snyder ends Ohio State career with third NCAA title (video)

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Olympic and world champion Kyle Snyder capped his Ohio State wrestling career by three-peating as NCAA heavyweight champion on Saturday night.

In the 285-pound final, Snyder beat Adam Coon, who handed Snyder his first NCAA loss in almost three years in a Feb. 11 dual meet.

Tied 1-1, Snyder scored a two-point takedown with 22 seconds left and won 3-2.

Coon is about six inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than Snyder, who wrestles internationally in the 213-pound division. The two highest NCAA weight classes are 197 and 285.

“I’m glad heavyweight’s done,” Snyder said Saturday night.

Snyder will continue his already storied international career as a professional.

In 2015, he became the youngest American to win a world wrestling title, seven months after losing at the Big Ten Championships.

In 2016, he became the youngest American to win an Olympic wrestling title.

Last August, he repeated as world champion by beating Russian Abdulrashid Sadulayev, dubbed the Match of the Century as Sadulayev moved up in weight for the showdown. Snyder handed the Russian Tank his first loss in nearly four years.

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Kyle Snyder wants to fight in UFC in the future, while still wrestling

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Kyle Snyder, already the youngest American wrestler to win Olympic and world titles, has designs on adding mixed martial arts to his resumé.

Snyder tweeted as much while at UFC 203 in Cleveland over the weekend and confirmed his intentions in an interview with Foxsports.com.

“Hopefully, sometime soon — not soon as in like this year or something like that — but within the next couple of years when I get my grounds in this sport,” Snyder said, according to the report. “I would want to continue wrestling, but I want to do both at the same time. I want to pursue my wrestling career, wrestle in world championships and the Olympic Games, but if the scheduling could work out and I can become an elite fighter, then I want to fight in the UFC as well.”

Snyder, 20, is starting his junior season at Ohio State University, so he must be cognizant of NCAA eligibility rules if he decides to take a closer look at mixed martial arts in the next 18 months.

His upcoming competition plans are strictly in wrestling, returning in November or December and through NCAAs in March.

Snyder would not be the first Olympic wrestling champion to move to mixed martial arts. The most recent example is 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, though Cejudo, as with other Olympians, didn’t switch until after ending his wrestling career.

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