Figure skater Coughlin abused me says former partner

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Los Angeles (AFP)

A former partner of John Coughlin has accused the late US figure skater of sexually abusing her over a two-year period.

Bridget Namiotka, 29, said Coughlin, who committed suicide in January, had abused her and other skaters during his career.

Coughlin, 33, took his own life in Kansas City a day after being notified by US Center for SafeSport that he had been suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Namiotka, who partnered Coughlin in pairs between 2004 and 2007, when she was aged between 14-17, and Coughlin was 18-21, made her allegations against the skater in a series of posts on Facebook.

"I'm sorry but John hurt at least 10 people including me," she wrote in response to a post which had supported Coughlin.

"He sexually abused me for 2 years. Nobody innocent hangs themself."

The original post supporting Coughlin was subsequently deleted.

However Namiotka reiterated the allegations in a series of separate posts.

"Think about all of the girls he hurt," she wrote. "Grooming happens. It happened to me and he hurt a lot of girls.

"Think about the victims when you're speaking up for what he did to at least 10 girls."

Namiotka is being represented by attorney John Manley, who is also representing victims in US gymnastics Larry Nassar abuse scandal.

In March, Manley said Coughlin had abused at least three women.

"My clients and I want to make this clear: John Coughlin used his position of trust and power and prominence in figure skating to sexually abuse multiple minors, three of whom I represent," Manly told USA Today.

Coughlin had denied wrongdoing before his death.

Although the probe by the US Center for SafeSport effectively stalled after his suicide, investigators said in March that they had uncovered evidence of abuse in figure skating.

"In the course of the Center?s work on this (the Coughlin_ matter, and other figure skating matters, it is evident that there was/is a culture in figure skating that allowed grooming and abuse to go unchecked for too long," the Center said.

"This cannot be allowed to continue. The Center addresses these cultural issues every day through training and education and by, on a case-by-case basis, holding those who violate the Code accountable."