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Ex-Kentucky swimmers sue, accuse coach of rape


Two former Kentucky swimmers filed a lawsuit towards the college, its athletic director and former swim coach Lars Jorgensen on Friday, claiming the coach sexually assaulted them — together with an allegation of rape — and that the college ignored warnings about his alleged inappropriate conduct towards girls.

The lawsuit states that Jorgensen “forcibly raped” former Kentucky swimmer Briggs Alexander, who was a graduate pupil on the time of the primary alleged assault and, later, an assistant coach for the staff. One other unnamed former swimmer claims Jorgensen groped, harassed and tried to have intercourse along with her in 2022 whereas she was an assistant coach. The lawsuit additionally particulars an allegation made by a 3rd unnamed lady who isn’t a plaintiff and who says Jorgensen “forcibly raped” her in 2013 throughout his first 12 months because the staff’s head coach.

Jorgensen didn’t reply to a telephone name from ESPN. He instructed The Athletic, which first reported Friday’s lawsuit, that not one of the allegations towards him are true.

Jay Blanton, a college spokesperson, mentioned the college takes any allegations of misconduct “very critically” however doesn’t “talk about particular personnel points.”

Jorgensen resigned as Kentucky coach in June. The college didn’t present any element about why Jorgensen was leaving the swim staff when it introduced his resignation.

Based on the lawsuit, a number of different coaches at Kentucky witnessed Jorgensen groping swimmers or his assistants throughout his decade with this system. On one event in 2015 or 2016, the go well with says, a coach reported his alleged conduct to the college’s Title IX workplace.

Mark Howard, who had coached with Jorgensen on the College of Toledo, instructed the plaintiffs’ attorneys that he emailed Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart and the swim staff’s then-head coach Gary Conelly when Jorgensen was first employed as an affiliate head coach in 2012 to warn them a few earlier alleged incident of sexual misconduct. Based on the lawsuit, Howard wrote that “a former Toledo swimmer made it recognized to me a few sexual relationship she had with Lars [before] she had graduated. … That is no joke in any respect and I can’t abdomen the truth that he can be teaching girls once more.”

Based on the lawsuit, Conelly, who is called as a defendant, thanked Howard for sharing the “disturbing allegation” however didn’t comply with up additional with Howard. Conelly instructed The Athletic that he contacted the previous Toledo swimmer, who instructed him she started courting Jorgensen after her swimming profession. He mentioned it “bothers me a little bit bit” however that it is not unusual for coaches to have a relationship with one in all their former swimmers.

Barnhart didn’t reply to Howard’s electronic mail, the lawsuit says.

An athletic division spokesperson didn’t reply to a request to talk with Barnhart. Requested in regards to the lawsuit after Sunday’s information convention at Rupp Enviornment introducing males’s basketball coach Mark Pope, Barnhart mentioned he could not remark as a result of the matter is underneath litigation.

“I all the time say we all the time need to have security for our student-athletes, our coaches and our employees,” Barnhart mentioned. “However aside from that, I can not say.”

Blanton mentioned the college critiques any considerations raised about staff or potential staff “earlier than a rent is made or an worker is retained.” He additionally mentioned the college permits claimants or potential victims to determine whether or not they need to take part in investigations about any alleged misconduct.

Alexander, who based on the lawsuit now identifies as male, mentioned he reported the small print of Jorgensen’s alleged assault to a college Title IX officer in June 2023. The lady who says she was assaulted in 2013 additionally shared particulars about her alleged rape with the Title IX workplace across the similar time. The Title IX workplace was investigating a unique criticism about Jorgensen’s “teaching techniques,” based on the lawsuit.

Alexander and the opposite lady mentioned the Title IX officer “vigorously discouraged” them from submitting an official report of sexual assault. Based on the lawsuit, their complaints to the Title IX workplace have been unresolved as a result of Jorgensen had left the college.

In November, the U.S. Heart for SafeSport, which adjudicates complaints of sexual abuse and different misconduct for Olympic sports activities, issued a brief measure towards Jorgensen that included a ban on unsupervised teaching and a no-contact order following allegations of misconduct, based on its web site.

The Related Press contributed to this report.



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