When former USA Diving and Ohio State University assistant diving coach William Bohonyi entered a plea of guilty to the sexual battery of one-time Olympic hopeful diver Eszter Pryor, it freed up a group of attorneys who represent plaintiffs who have allegedly been sexually assaulted to move forward (case 1:18-cv-02113-WTL-MJD). Under federal rules, the lawsuit was on hold pending resolution of the criminal case.
“The fact remains that most if not all of the countless sexual assaults and rapes committed by this pedophile would have been prevented if USA Diving, similar to USA Swimming and USA Gymnastics, did not place its own selfish interests of maximizing revenue generation over the safety of children,” said Pryor’s attorney Robert Allard. “Indeed, this case is yet another example of sports entities operating under the United States Olympic Committee umbrella of prioritizing medals and money above all else.”
The lawsuit alleges sexual abuse, exploitation and the forced labor of Team USA diving hopefuls by the Olympic coaches and executives entrusted to protect them. The plaintiff is Eszter Pryor, once a 14-year-old diving phenom who vied for a spot on the US Olympic diving team at the 2012 US Olympic Trials.
In the lawsuit, Pryor claims that she was sexually abused on countless occasions by Bohonyi while training with him at The Ohio State Diving Club, which practiced on the campus of The Ohio State University. Bohonyi took or received hundreds of pictures of her in the nude and videotaped them while they were having intercourse. The club was sanctioned by USA Diving and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
Although Bohonyi was the first coach publicly banned by USA Diving in the spring of 2015, it is alleged that the organization should have done more to stop Bohonyi from gaining access to USA Diving minor members. As an example, the plaintiffs noted that USA Diving still allowed Bohonyi to privately coach USA Diving members under the age of 18.
“The coaches and executives who select America’s diving team are authority figures with enormous power over the athletes they coach,” Allard said. “This imbalance of power is exploited by predator coaches because they know that young athletes are under intense pressure to obey their coaches or risk losing their Olympic dream.”
Pryor’s legal team also includes Rex Sharp, Sharp Law, and Steve Estey, Estey & Bomberger.