Ashley Wagner reveals she was assaulted by John Coughlin

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Colonel Green

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USA Today:
Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner, the 2016 world silver medalist and most successful U.S. female skater of her era, told USA TODAY Sports this week that the late John Coughlin sexually assaulted her in June 2008 after a party at a national team figure skating camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when she had just turned 17 and Coughlin was 22.

Wagner, a three-time national champion who won a team bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics, said Coughlin got into her bed as she slept at the home where the party had been held and began kissing and groping her. “I was absolutely paralyzed in fear,” she said.
I'm glad that Ashley felt able to tell her story now, and that Christine Brennan keeps following this story.

I expect that some of the people in the skating community who railed at Bridget Namiotka will change their tune at testimony from a more famous skater. Others won't, though.
 

PRlady

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The sport needed her honesty. I’m glad she spoke out. Like Ally Raisman, her name recognition and accomplishments will help this be taken more seriously. It’s a shame that is the way things work but it’s true.
 

antmanb

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All of the other skaters who came out to defend the pervert can’t say sh*t because Ashley is more successful than them.
It’s crazy how so many lept to defend him. He was a mediocre skater and when he retired he was either a mediocre coach or he coached mediocre skaters.

Are you a teenager? These ridiculously petty insults about the success of any party should not even come into the serious discussion about sexual assault or the changes needed to the skating federations. You might be better to focus on the issues instead of these schoolyard comments.

I think Ashley is incredibly brave for speaking out and I hope she's protected from trolls who will no doubt attack her.
 
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hoptoad

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Good for Ashley for telling her story. :cheer2:

I hope at some point she elaborates on her conversation with USFS and how they responded to her proposals. From the article:
This year I watched a phenomenal young superstar, Alysa Liu, become the U.S. figure skating national champion at 13. It was in that moment that I knew I had to come forward with my story. I want to make this sport safer for those kids. I went to U.S. Figure Skating and proposed changes to athlete education and wellness designed to keep these young skaters as safe as possible.
 

MsZem

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Ashley's post on her Instagram:


The responses so far are all supportive, as they should be. Kaitlyn Weaver is the first skater that I saw in the replies.

ETA - also Kiira Korpi, who wrote this: "Dear Ashley, thank you for your courage to speak up and efforts to make our sport more safe. I’m sorry what you had to go through... Sending much love and gratitude❤"
 
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personwhoishere

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First and foremost, Ashley sharing her story is so courageous and it's wonderful that she's adding action to words and actively working to protect the next generation of skaters.

As a secondary side note, I'm curious how skaters/others in the skating community who previously defended and posted lengthy tributes to him will respond, if at all. It's so hard to reconcile someone we knew and loved as having been abusive. Ashley's point about people being/seeming "nice" and "doing all the right things" still having the capacity to be abusive is so important to make note of. The reason so many people get away with it is because they present so well publicly. I think it would be especially important/impactful for those people to acknowledge that.
 

AYS

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An accompanying article explains the many valid reasons why people delay reporting sexual assaults.

One other point not addressed in that piece is a young person, while experiencing the negative impact of the assault, e.g., shame, fear, right away, can't sufficiently understand or articulate to themselves that what happened was assault until later, with the benefit of more information, education, and distance from the event.
 

ilovepaydays

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All of the other skaters who came out to defend the pervert can’t say sh*t because Ashley is more successful than them.

How successful her skating career was should have nothing to do with whether she should be believed. Even if she had never qualified for U.S. Nationals, Sectionals, or Regionals. Or never mastered single jumps. Her story should be the only thing that people should consider.
 

supergirl573

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How successful her skating career was should have nothing to do with whether she should be believed. Even if she had never qualified for U.S. Nationals, Sectionals, or Regionals. Her story should be the only thing that people should consider.
It shouldn’t, but his defenders were saying the accusations were sabotage over a commentating position and given Ashley’s career, she would get more offers than Coughlin would have.

Are you a teenager? These ridiculously petty insults about the success of any party should not even come into the serious discussion about sexual assault or the changes needed to the skating federations. You might be better to focus on the issues instead of these schoolyard comments.

I think Ashley is incredibly brave for speaking out and I hope she's protected from trolls who will no doubt attack her.
I’m not a teenager, but Coughlin’s family and some of his online defenders made the argument that the accusers were no name skater who were jealous. Now it came out that the accuser was much more successful than Coughlin was, that argument has been thrown out.
 

Rukia

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I can already hear the excuses people are going to make for him or against her, but it doesn't matter. What happened was assault and should never have happened. I support Ashley, and Bridget, and everyone else who had this happen.
 

Wyliefan

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When Coughlin’s camp said that the accusations were from some one playing dirty to win a job, I thought they were deflecting. In hindsight, they were trying to out Ashley because she was commentating.

Oh gosh, you're right. That hadn't dawned on me.

It just makes the whole accusation even more ridiculous. As if Ashley would have needed to smear someone to get that job. :rolleyes:
 

Lanie

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Ashley's point about someone being a good person or you think they are is really an excellent one.

And USFSA ignoring the conditions that makes things like this possible--the parties (where were the adults?! the coaches, the minders, the people supposed to look out for these kids?!), the age gaps, where imo the older skaters are not mature or responsible like actual adults and therefore create situations like this, then USFSA ignoring it...is infuriating. I hope Ashley's recommendations to USFSA are looked into. We have a lot of young people in this sport who are not protected, both girls and boys, from this sort of thing happening because the federation doesn't give a fcuk. They only care about results. As I assume most sports organizations do, sadly.

I'm glad she spoke up.
 

RoseRed

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When Coughlin’s camp said that the accusations were from some one playing dirty to win a job, I thought they were deflecting. In hindsight, they were trying to out Ashley because she was commentating.
She wasn't one of the accusations reported at the time though. She said she spoke to the USFS in February. And it explicitly says in the article:

USA TODAY Sports, citing a person with knowledge of the situation, reported in January that SafeSport received three reports of sexual assault against Coughlin. His death effectively ended the investigation into those reports, SafeSport announced in February.

While Namiotka is one of those cases, Wagner’s allegation is not.
 
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