Former skating coach faces new sexual abuse allegations

Updated: March 28, 2007, 5:57 PM ET
Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A former world-class figure skating coach who was banned from national competitions after settling a sexual abuse lawsuit faces new allegations of abusing skaters.

Bob Young, best known for bringing Olympic champions Oksana Baiul, Viktor Petrenko and Ekaterina Gordeeva to train in Connecticut, is accused in federal and state lawsuits of abusing Emilie Nussear and Collete Appel, whom he trained at the International Skating Center in Simsbury and the Connecticut Skating Center in Newington.

They allege in lawsuits filed last week by Appel in U.S. District Court and by Nussear in Hartford Superior Court that Young repeatedly forced them to strip in front of him, touched their genitals and breasts and asked them sexual questions.

The lawsuits, first reported by The Hartford Courant, claim that Nussear, now 24, was abused while Young worked at the Simsbury skating center, and Appel, now 21, was abused at the Newington rink, where Young started working in 2000.

"These were both very committed, ambitious and driven skaters who feared that if they disclosed what was happening their skating careers would be destroyed," said Gary Phelan, their attorney.

Both Appel and Nussear had distinguished skating careers, winning several medals in international competitions. Appel won the U.S. junior pairs figure skating championship in 2002, while Nussear won a silver medal at the 2000 junior worlds competition.

"They were not Michelle Kwan, but they were nationally known skaters," Phelan said.

Messages seeking comment were left Wednesday for both Young and attorney Richard Kenny, who represented Young in a similar lawsuit lodged by figure skater Jessica Roos in 2000.

It is The Associated Press' policy not to identify most alleged victims of sexual abuse, but Appel and Nussear are willing to be identified to bring awareness to their cause, Phelan said.

"One of their objectives in filing this lawsuit is to make sure that what they went through, no other young woman will ever suffer again," he said.

Phelan said he was "not authorized" to comment about whether the alleged abuse, which he said occurred between 1998-2004, is the subject of any criminal investigation.

A message seeking comment was left with New Britain State's Attorney Scott Murphy.

Young settled with Roos, who also brought her allegations before the U.S. Figure Skating Association. That group subsequently banned Young from coaching athletes at competitions sanctioned by the USFSA.

But Young continued as a private coach at the Newington rink, which is also named as a defendant in Appel's lawsuit and is accused of negligent hiring.

"The owner of Newington was quoted at the time as saying they were aware of the allegations, and found (Young) to be professional and ethical," Phelan said.

A woman who answered the phone Wednesday at the Newington center said they had nothing to do with the lawsuit, and that Young has not been associated with the rink for several years.

Young currently runs a private photography business, B. Young Photography, specializing in modeling photos of girls and young women.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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