A second lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a swim coach has been filed against USA Swimming, the national governing body of the sport, and former coach Andrew King, who is serving a 40-year prison sentence for molesting a 14-year-old San Jose girl and three East Bay women he coached in the late 1980s and 1990s.
The latest complaint stems from King's years as coach of the Aquajets at the North Whidbey Aquatics Club in Oak Harbor, Wash., where he worked before moving to San Jose and being hired by San Jose Aquatics. Both suits allege that inadequate background checks were conducted on King -- by the swim clubs, USA Swimming and, in the Washington case, the parks and recreation district that hired him.
"There were warning signs about this guy before but they (officials) never acted on them," said Seattle attorney Jay Krulewitch, who represents Laura Hall, the victim in that case. "They did not take any steps to protect kids from coaches."
According to the suit, filed in King County, from 1994 to 1997, in his capacity as head coach of the Aquajets swim team, King "sexually assaulted, battered, humiliated and sexually molested the plaintiff on multiple occasions, in both Island and King counties, Washington." Hall was 11 to 14 at the time.
The Mercury News reported last year that allegations about King surfaced as early as six months after he was hired in Oak Harbor. Parents complained to parks and recreation commissioners and USA Swimming, but nothing was done at the time. The newspaper also reported that top officials at USA Swimming received at least two abuse complaints about King before he was arrested years later in San Jose.
Jamie Fabos Olsen, spokeswoman for USA Swimming, declined to discuss allegations in the newest lawsuit.
"Andrew King has been permanently banned from membership in USA Swimming," she said. "I can provide no further comment on this case, but as a general matter, when USA Swimming receives a complaint of sexual misconduct by a member, it immediately informs legal counsel, who deploys an independent private investigator to investigate the complaint."
The attorney for the Oak Harbor parks and recreation district did not return phone calls from the Mercury News.
Since the allegations about King and other coaches surfaced, Olsen said, USA Swimming has "embraced a series of augmented athlete-protection efforts including expanded background checking, mandatory pre-employment screening by clubs, an anonymous online reporting system, education requirements and the public publishing of the list of banned coaches."
Contact Linda Goldston at 408-920-5862.