Another Sex Abuse Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Swimming — This One Ups the Ante from Wrongful Termination to Malicious Prosecution

Published February 1st, 2013, Uncategorized

In 2010 an Indiana swim coach named Ken Stopkotte took the brave step of talking on the record with ABC’s 20/20 about the decades-old and still mostly unaddressed issue of coach sexual abuse of the underage athletes they supervise.

This week, in state court in Marion County, attorney Jonathan Little filed a lawsuit on Stopkotte’s behalf against the Hamilton School Corporation and Mel Goldstein, founder and director of YMCA Indy SwimFit, for the retaliation, defamation, and — get this — malicious prosecution Stopkotte endured in return for blowing the whistle on poorly kept secrets.

The Stopkotte story is straight out of Stalin. In the wake of 20/20, he lost his job and was drummed out of any work in the swimming industry over allegations that he had fudged his athletes’ swimming time sheets. Got that straight? Molest kids — business as usual. Call out your colleagues for denying and covering up the molestation of kids — get blackballed with trumped-up allegations.

In November of 2010, Stopkotte also was arrested on felony theft charges after Goldstein told police he had stolen swimming pool rent money. Stopkotte spent ten days in a Tennessee jail, including Thanksgiving, awaiting extradition to Indiana. The charges were dropped last year.

Stopkotte says, “There was no evidence or even an allegation that I used the money for personal use. Nowhere in the official affidavit for probable cause did it state that I personally misused or otherwise used the nearly $17,000 in question for my own personal benefit. Rather, the document refers to me depositing the money into a ‘private account’ for the swim club expenses.”

Attorney Little adds: “Ken Stopkotte was damaged emotionally and financially by the phony criminal charges. This lawsuit will hold the school district and the YMCA’s Goldstein accountable for a lifetime of shame suffered by the malicious prosecution.”

And, I would add, the lawsuit offers hope for others who have endured retaliation for doing the right thing and taking on the swimming establishment — as well as for those who now will be emboldened to add their voices, confident that the retaliation tactic is losing its potency.

 

Irv Muchnick