Olympic Equestrian Coach Left a Trail of Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors

Posted in United States Equestrian Federation on July 13, 2018

The allegations of child sex abuse against Jimmy Williams, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame trainer, has rocked the equestrian community and the Flintridge Riding Club.  Although Mr. Williams died in 1993, he is alleged to have left a trail of abused children behind.

Anne Kursinski was an Olympic gold medalist and one of the United States’ ‘most decorated show jumpers. She claims to be one of Jimmy Williams’ victims. From the age of 11, she tells the New York Times that she was subjected to six years of continual rape and molestation. Even more shocking, few in the industry were surprised. The New York Times interviewed 38 of his former students, trainers, and members of the Flintridge Riding Club to reveal a dark picture of the revered coach. Most knew of his penchant for groping and kissing young girls in public and many turned a blind eye to this behavior, allowing Williams to go unchecked for decades.

Another victim, Karen Herold, described to the New York Times the four years that Williams continually molested her as something many just kept quiet. She was coerced into not divulging the abuse out of fear that he would not give her good horses to ride or that he would leave her as a coach. Parents often swept allegations under the rug as well, out of fear that they would be ousted from favor. As a result, many of the young riders learned to avoid the barns out of fear of further abuse.

Flintridge Riding Club employed Mr. Williams from 1956 until his death. For nearly 40 years, he enjoyed a prestigious career, full of fame and fortune, all while molesting and raping numerous children in his care. Just prior to Mr. Williams receiving the 1988 lifetime achievement trophy, the vice president for the sport’s governing organization was warned of Williams’ rumored misconduct. She did not investigate the story, but instead moved forward with the award ceremony. In 2016, however, the organization was pressured into finally removing his name from that trophy.

On May 14, 2018, the United States Equestrian Federation barred Jimmy Williams from its membership – 24 years after his death.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/sports/jimmy-williams-flintridge.html