(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A new complaint against the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), U.S. Center for SafeSport (SafeSport), and Paralympian Robert Griswold has been filed with the United States District Court of Colorado, on behalf of the victim, a Paralympic swimmer.
The complaint goes into detail about the assault and harassment allegedly perpetrated by Griswold against the victim. According to the claims, the USOPC and SafeSport were aware of the risk Griswold posed to other athletes especially those with the disabilities the victim had.
“This case is a horrific tragedy, where a young man who defied all odds to become a world-class Paralympic swimmer had his life utterly shattered by rape and abuse when he was paired with a team member who was a violent sexual predator,” the opening statement of the complaint said.
The victim “was born with autism and has suffered from developmental delay and intellectual disability his entire life,” according to the complaint. For the victim, swimming became a therapeutic outlet and led to him participating in the Greenville Special Olympics in North Carolina.
“He was named to the 2020 U.S. Paralympics Swimming national team after having a successful showing at the Paralympic trials in June 2021 and competed in the 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle, and 100-meter backstroke at the 2020 Paralympic Games, which occurred in August of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the complaint states.
The complaint claims that Griswold allegedly began grooming the victim in June 2021, calling the victim his “little buddy.” The complaint alleges that this relationship was fostered by Griswold in order to gain the victim’s trust as well as “lure Plaintiff, and Plaintiff’s parents, into a false sense of safety.”
During the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in August 2021, the complaint alleges Griswold’s grooming “intensified” and that he kept the victim seated next to him on the plane and bus rides. Griswold also allegedly had unsupervised access to the victim in their shared room in the Olympic Village.
Tokyo is where the alleged sexual assault began. According to the complaint, USOPC and SafeSport allegedly knew that there were previous allegations of sexual assault by Griswold on other teammates and still allowed him to supervise and share a room with the victim.
In addition to the alleged sexual assault, Griswold manipulated the victim as well by convincing him that if he said anything to anyone the victim “would get in trouble” and “the police would come.” The complaint alleges that these threats constituted manipulation of the victim’s intellectual disability.
Allegations against the USOPC and SafeSport claim that their, “actions to insulate Griswold and further victimize Plaintiff were due in large part to the fact that Griswold was a premier swimmer, and because Griswold’s family was deeply embedded with leaders throughout the U.S. Paralympic swimming community.”
There are 16 separate Claims for Relief ranging from; assault and battery to negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation, along with civil conspiracy against the three named defendants; USOPC, SafeSport, and Griswold. Compensatory and general damages of no less than $75k are being sought as well as some punitive damages.
The Colorado Springs Police Department has confirmed to FOX21 that there is an “open and active” investigation underway. SafeSport had this to say when FOX21 asked for comment, “The Center does not comment on matters to protect the integrity of the investigative process.”
FOX21 News reached out to the USOPC for comment but has not received a statement in response.