SAN JOSE, California -- A California woman sued the governing body of U.S. competitive swimming and her former coach, claiming he sexually abused, humiliated and harassed her when she was a teenager training under his supervision.
The lawsuit, announced Wednesday, is one of several around the country alleging USA Swimming covered up wrongdoing and allowed a culture of abuse to exist in coaching ranks.
USA Swimming declined to comment on the latest case but said it investigates misconduct complaints and revokes membership if behavior was inappropriate.
The latest lawsuit claims swim coach Norman Havercroft sexually abused Jancy Thompson over a five-year period in the 1990s, beginning when she was about 15.
The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of alleged sexual abuse. However, the now 28-year-old has chosen to speak publicly.
Thompson, who graduated from the police academy and does gang intervention for a nonprofit group, said she came forward to help affect change.
"I was robbed of my childhood and never performed to my full capabilities," she said. "I want to ensure that no one has to endure what I went through and carry such a burden the rest of their lives."
A telephone message left at a listing for Norman Havercroft in Corona del Mar was not immediately returned.
The alleged abuse took place at various locations in Santa Clara County, including a Los Gatos swim club where Thompson trained, the homes of Thompson and Havercroft, and at a school, according to the 44-page lawsuit first filed June 18 and amended July 30.
Havercroft is accused in the lawsuit of groping, engaging in sexual acts, providing pornography and buying an Internet camera for "cyber" sex.
The abuse carried on after Thompson turned 18, even though she never gave consent, according to the suit filed in Superior Court in San Jose.
The suit also claims Havercroft abused another female and says USA Swimming knew about that case and did nothing to remove Havercroft from his position. That woman is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
"In the worst of ways we claim that he took advantage of the coach-athlete relationship, exerting his power and authority," attorney Robert Allard said.
The suit also claims Thompson witnessed Havercroft inappropriately touch and massage several underage females.
USA Swimming has come under fire for its handling of alleged abuse cases but said it was taking steps to keep young athletes safe. At least 46 coaches and officials have been banned for life, mostly for sexual misconduct.
The organization will vote on measures at its national convention in September that include a new athlete protection policy, expanded background checks, and a requirement that all adults who interact with swimmers become members of the organization.
In the lawsuit, Allard called it a belated effort that demonstrates a "callous indifference to the health and safety of the young swimmers across the country."
In the Thompson case, simple steps would have prevented the alleged abuse, he said.
"Just a basic look into it, do something about it and remove the man from coaching," Allard said. "It's not hard."