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Wednesday January 19, 2022

Australia swimmer Groves says she was molested as a teenager

By AFP
December 09, 2021
Australia swimmer Groves says she was molested as a teenager

SYDNEY: An Australian swimmer who pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics to protest “misogynistic perverts” said Wednesday she was molested from the age of 13 by someone still working in the sport.

Butterfly specialist Madeline Groves, who won two silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said in an interview with broadcaster ABC that she was sexually abused by a swimming official as a teenager.

She said she was speaking up after learning of an unrelated ABC investigation in October into former elite swimming coach John Wright, who has been accused of sexually abusing teenage boys in the 1980s and 1990s.

Wright was arrested in October on historical child sexual abuse charges and remanded in custody.

“I think seeing the report on the John Wright case, there’s this attitude that that type of thing is a historical issue and it doesn’t happen anymore and that times have changed,” Groves said.

“But I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Because when I was underage, on multiple occasions I was actually molested by an adult male.

“At the time I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could tell about that. And there’s no-one in swimming that I would trust disclosing that to now, either.”

She declined to identify the alleged perpetrator but said he still worked in swimming and said the abuse started when she was 13 and continued until she was 18.

“I haven’t made a complaint about this individual,” she said.

“I guess my experience from trying to make complaints about other people in sport was so discouraging, it really didn’t leave me feeling that making a complaint about this person would be any different to the others.”

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