Former US Figure Skater Sues USFS Over Coach's Sexual Abuse - NBC Southern California
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Former US Figure Skater Sues USFS Over Coach's Sexual Abuse

The suit alleges that USFS failed to tell authorities that a coach had engaged in inappropriate conduct with minors.

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    Ex-US Figure Skater Sues USFS Over Coach's Sex Abuse

    A former figure skater is suing the U.S. Figure Skating Association and two ice skating rinks over sexual abuse by his former coach, who was convicted of child molestation. Vikki Vargas reports for NBC4 News on Thursday. Feb. 22, 2018. (Published Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018)

    A onetime member of the U.S. National Figure Skating Team who says he was abused by his former coach is suing the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

    The 22-year-old plaintiff in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Wednesday is identified only as John S. Doe. He also is suing former coach Donald James Vincent and two Los Angeles County ice skating facilities.

    The suit alleges the defendants concealed from the plaintiff's parents and law enforcement officials that Doe and others were or may have been sexually abused, harassed and molested by Vincent.

    U.S. Figure Skating Association spokeswoman Barbara Reichert issued a statement regarding the lawsuit.

    "Donald J. Vincent is in jail for his conviction of a heinous crime," she said. "He is permanently banned from U.S. Figure Skating. U.S. Figure Skating has just become aware of the filing of this lawsuit. U.S. Figure Skating will be reviewing it and has no further comment at this time."

    Vincent was convicted of repeatedly sexually molesting two of his students, a boy and a girl, including the plaintiff, between 2007 and 2011. He was sentenced in 2014 in Pomona Superior Court to 98 years and eight months to life in state prison.

    According to the complaint, from 2007 to around 2008, Doe trained at the Lakewood Glacial Gardens with Vincent as his coach. Doe was about 11 years old when he began sleeping at Vincent's home about two to three nights weekly thinking that such stays would help him focus on training for ice skating, the suit states.

    Vincent's true motive in having the boy stay over was to begin sexually touching, fondling and abusing him, the suit states.

    The United States Figure Skating Association received information that Vincent had engaged in inappropriate conduct with other minors and failed to report him to the authorities as required by law, the suit alleges.

    "Our client is an extremely talented young athlete who dreamed of nothing more than to stand on an Olympic podium and hear our National Anthem," said his lawyer, Vince Finaldi. "Instead, he had to stop competing in the sport he loved because of the physical and emotional damage allegedly done to him by his coach."

    The U.S. Figure Skating Association and the ice rinks where Vincent worked ignored complaints against him for years, Finaldi said, who added that if they had reported Vincent to the police, Doe and children "could have been protected from this monster."

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