A lawsuit filed in a federal court claims a former athlete with the Ohio State Diving Club was sexually abused by a coach beginning in July 2014 and that the university did not take action against the coach besides firing him.
The suit, which also also names USA Diving and the United States Olympic Committee as defendants, claims assistant diving coach William Bohonyi coerced the 16-year-old female athlete to engage in sex acts on campus and during a competition in Maryland. It was filed July 11 in Indianapolis federal district court.
The lawsuit states that former Ohio State Diving Club head coach John Appleman learned of it during the Senior Nationals in Knoxville, Tennessee, in August 2014, but the athlete, 17, was sent home and that Bohonyi remained at the event.
The lawsuit also claims Bohonyi told the athlete to take nude pictures of herself and share them with him. It further claims Ohio State “came into possession of hundreds of nude pictures” of the athlete.
“In the almost four years that Ohio State University has been in the possession of this child pornography no action has been taken by Ohio State or the Ohio State Police Department,” the lawsuit states.
A call to the number matching Bohonyi’s address went unanswered Monday. It also wasn’t clear if an address attributed to Bohonyi in the lawsuit was accurate.
According to a statement from Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson on Monday, the university notified Franklin County Children’s Services, the Ohio State University Police Division, Maryland law enforcement officials and USA Diving about the abuse by Bohonyi.
OSU Police opened an investigation on Aug. 19, 2014, according to the statement, and it “was closed at the request of the complainant.”
“The university’s administrative investigation continued and resulted in Mr. Bohonyi’s termination on Aug. 29, 2014,” the statement read. “The results of the administrative investigation were reported to USA Diving in 2014.”
The university statement added that the OSU Police investigation was reopened on Jan. 30, 2018 after the university was contacted by the former diving club athlete.
“The investigation is pending, and OSUPD is working with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office,” Johnson said.
The lawsuit also claims USA Diving did not report his abuse to law enforcement or stop Bohonyi from continuing to coach members of USA Diving, although the organization placed him on a permanently ineligible list for membership on Feb. 10, 2015.
USA Diving released the following statement: “Providing a safe environment for our members is of tremendous importance to USA Diving, and we take these matters very seriously. USA Diving is unable to comment further at this time.”
According to its website the Ohio State Diving Club is “hosted through the Buckeye Aquatic Academy, a program of the Department of Recreational Sports in the Office of Student Life at The Ohio State University.”