Woman describes alleged sexual grooming by Ohio State coach
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio State University diving club coach began pressuring a female diver for sex within weeks after meeting her when she was 16, the former diver said Tuesday in an interview.
Former diver Estee Pryor said she had no experience with men when the 27-year-old coach approached her and began complimenting her.
The coach was “telling me I was the most honest, and mature, and kind girl he’s ever met,” Pryor said in an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly. The relationship with former coach Will Bohonyi became sexual within a week, Pryor said.
Pryor said she was raised to respect men and never challenge them.
Asked why she declined to pursue a prosecution at the time, she said: “My thing is, they couldn’t do their job, so they put it on me. I was 17 years old, and they made it my responsibility to take action for somebody else’s mistake.”
After learning of the allegations, Ohio State has said, without identifying victims, that it notified campus police, USA Diving and Franklin County Children’s Services, as well as law enforcement in Montgomery County, Maryland, where a federal lawsuit says teammates discovered the diver’s sexual relationship with Bohonyi at a national competition.
A campus police investigation was opened in August 2014 and then closed at the complainant’s request before being reopened this January, also at the former diver’s request, according to the university.
University police are working with the county prosecutor’s office in that pending investigation, according to Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson.
Robert Allard, an attorney representing Pryor, told NBC that Ohio State did not act after being presented with photos and videos of sexual encounters between the coach and the then-teenage girl, an allegation repeated in the lawsuit.
Johnson responded Tuesday: “Law enforcement has always been in possession of any images that may have existed.”
Pryor is one of two former divers suing Bohonyi, Ohio State University and USA Diving, accusing them of ignoring or obstructing inquiries into allegations that the coach sexually abused them when they were young athletes.
The suit alleges that Bohonyi, who had coached at the Ohio State University Diving Club and was fired in 2014, coerced and forced the divers into frequent sex, telling them, “You owe me this.” It was filed July 11 in Indianapolis federal court.
The AP does not typically name victims of sexual assault, but Pryor has given permission for her name to be used publicly, said Jon Little, an Indianapolis-based lawyer representing her.
Court records list Bohonyi as representing himself without providing contact information. A message was left Tuesday at a cellphone number listed as his.
USA Diving declined to comment.
Ohio State said the school opened an administrative investigation in 2014 after learning about the allegations against Bohonyi and he was fired in August 2014.