Former figure skater alleges abuse by former partner, who committed suicide, in Facebook posts

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Bridget Namiotka alleged that her former figure skating partner, John Coughlin — seen here with Caydee Denney at the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships — sexually abused her for two years in a series of Facebook posts on Sunday. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Former figure skater Bridget Namiotka accused her former partner John Coughlin of abuse on Sunday night in multiple Facebook posts, writing that the late figure skater had “sexually abused” her for two years.

Namiotka was partners with Coughlin from 2004-2007, when she was between the ages of 14 to 17 and he was 18 to 21, according to USA Today. They won three medals on the Junior Grand Prix series and finished ninth at the 2007 U.S. national championships.

Coughlin committed suicide earlier this year. He was 33.

Namiotka, 29, wrote four posts on Facebook about Coughlin alleging abuse on Sunday night.

“I’m sorry but John hurt at least 10 people including me,” Namiotka wrote in the first post. “He sexually abused me for two years. Nobody innocent hangs themself.”

Namiotka followed the first post up with three more just minutes later.

“Someone that’s innocent doesn’t hang himself,” Namiotka wrote. “Think about the victims when you’re speaking up for what he did to at least 10 girls.”

“Think about all of the girls he hurt,” Namiotka wrote.

“Grooming happens,” she wrote in the final post. “It happened to me and he hurt a lot of girls. Think about the victims.”

John Manley, an attorney who is also representing more than 200 victims in the gymnastics abuse case involving former team doctor Larry Nassar, told USA Today that he is representing Namiotka and her family, along with two others who alleged that Coughlin abused them when they were minors. He also confirmed that Namiotka was the author behind the four Facebook posts on Sunday.

“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 in March.

Coughlin’s former agent, Tara Modlin responded to USA Today on Monday night, calling Namiotka “unstable.”

“It seems that you want me to comment on an unstable persons Facebook comment — I don’t really understand your question,” Modlin texted USA Today. “My suggestion is to call some of his other partners ... “

Coughlin committed suicide amid multiple allegations, investigation

Coughlin committed suicide in January, and was found in his father’s home in the Kansas City area. He was suspended by the U.S. Center for SafeSport just one day before his death while facing three reports of sexual misconduct against him — two of them involving minors, according to USA Today.

He denied the allegations against him less than two weeks prior to his death, calling the allegations “unfounded.” SafeSport announced in February that it was dropping its investigations.

“We are not a punitive body,” SafeSport spokesman Dan Hill said in January, via USA Today. “When someone is suspended, it is to keep individuals safe. It’s all about the safety of the reporting party. In this instance, sadly, the safety issue isn’t there now.”

Coughlin won the gold medal at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and the silver medal at the 2012 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships with partner Caydee Denney. Denney and Coughlin just missed the cut to compete for the United States in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

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