Former USA Diving Coach Pleads Guilty to Sexual Battery Allowing Lawsuit on Behalf of Olympic Hopeful to Proceed Against the USOC & USA Diving
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. As a result of his guilty plea, Bohonyi faces up to ten years in prison.
The guilty plea also allows a lawsuit by a group of nationally prominent sexual abuse attorneys 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,” added Allard.
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 USA Diving sex abuse lawsuit, Pryor claims that she was sexually abused on countless occasions by coach William Bohonyi while training with him at The Ohio State Diving Club, which practiced on the campus of The Ohio State University. Bohonyi’s took or received 100’s 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 did not stop Bohonyi from gaining access to USA Diving minor members. Despite being provided with clear evidence of sex abuse, USA Diving still allowed Bohonyi to privately coach USA Diving members under the age of 18.
The USOC selected USA Diving as its National Governing Body for diving, which means that any athlete who wants to compete in the Olympics must be selected to the team by USA Diving.
“The coaches and executives who select America’s diving team are authority figures with enormous power over the athletes they coach,” said Allard. “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.”