US figure skater Wagner says she was sexually assaulted by ex-teammate who committed suicide
US Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner has opened up about sexual assault trauma she says she suffered at the age of 17, stating she was abused by former teammate John Coughlin who committed suicide last winter.
The 28-year-old spoke out on Thursday detailing the assault which she says took place at a national team figure skating camp in Colorado, when Wagner was she just 17 and Coughlin was 22.
“I had never really had anything to drink before and everyone was drinking and I was a teenager and I wanted to see what it was like, so I started drinking,” Wagner told USA Today.
“The next thing I remember, I get woken up by feeling someone crawling into the bed. I was really tired. I was dead asleep. I just remember not even being that worried about it because I didn’t quite understand what was happening.”
Then the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist said that Coughlin started kissing her without consent.
“After that, I remember (Coughlin) started kissing my neck, and I remember being so surprised and shocked that I didn’t quite know what to do,” she said.
“I was absolutely paralyzed in fear and I remember feeling him shift his weight onto me, remember him putting his hands down my pants, and he was kissing my neck and I was terrified,” Wagner added.
The skater said she asked Coughlin to stop, adding that he left the room afterwards.
Last December, allegations of sexual misconduct were brought against Coughlin, a skater who represented the USA in pair skating at major international events.
SafeSport, an independent nonprofit organization which describes its goals as battling against “all forms of abuse in sport,” suspended Coughlin after it launched investigations into sexual abuse allegations brought against him.
A day after his interim suspension and one week before the US Championships, Coughlin committed suicide at the age of 33.
In May, Coughlin’s former partner Bridget Namiotka accused him of sexual assault, alleging that he had killed himself after his sexual crimes began to surface.