Claims against the Ohio State Diving Club alleging the university did not take significant action to stop a former coach from sexually abusing a former athlete were dropped Wednesday, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Former assistant diving coach William Bohonyi was accused of coercing a 16-year-old female athlete to engage in sex acts in July 2014, both on campus and during a competition in Maryland, in a lawsuit filed July 11 in Indianapolis federal district court. Bohonyi, the university’s diving club and USA Diving were named as defendants.
Robert Allard, the attorney for one of the divers, said the dismissal “was based purely on procedural grounds” because the lawsuit was filed in Indiana. He said Ohio State said Indiana did not have proper jurisdiction over the university, and that he intends to file a new lawsuit in Ohio against Ohio State.
As of Friday, no lawsuit has been filed against Ohio State in Ohio.
“We continue to believe more than ever that there was a cover up of massive proportions and we intend to hold OSU fully accountable for its unconscionable conduct in failing to arrest and allowing a known predator to continue to molest children including our client,” Allard told The Lantern.
Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson had previously said the university immediately notified Franklin County Children’s Services, the Ohio State University Police Division, Maryland law enforcement and USA Diving about the abuse by Bohonyi when it first learned of the allegations in 2014.
Johnson said on Friday that the university is pleased to be dismissed from the lawsuit.
“We have always maintained that — fully consistent with our core value of protecting the safety and well-being of those we serve in our community — the university handled this matter appropriately,” Johnson said.
The Lantern obtained records of Ohio State’s internal investigation and found conflicting accounts of the relationship between the club member and Bohonyi. Though investigators were not able to conclude, at the time, if sexual harassment claims were valid, the university found evidence to support a consensual romantic relationship between the two. Ohio State fired Bohonyi on Aug. 29, 2014 because the relationship violated university policy.
The investigation conducted by Ohio State found the university first learned of the relationship on Aug. 10, 2014.
According to the AP report, Bohonyi and USA Diving remain defendants in the lawsuit.
The Lantern reached out for comment from Ohio State and Bohonyi, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
Updated at 11:16 p.m. on Friday to include the information from Robert Allard.
Updated at 1:02 p.m. on Friday to include the statement from Ben Johnson.