UMBC Sued By Former Swimmers Over Alleged Sexual Abuse By Former Coach
BALTIMORE COUNTY - Six former student-athletes have filed A federal lawsuit against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), alleging the institution disregarded and concealed enduring sexual abuse, harassment, and discrimination by late swim coach Chad Cradock.
The lawsuit, launched Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, purports that UMBC officials neglected to address Cradock's misconduct. Cradock, who took his own life in March 2021, had stepped down from his coaching position during an inquiry into his behavior.
A report completed by a Baltimore law firm retained by UMBC and obtained by The Baltimore Sun suggested that Cradock behaved inappropriately towards male swimmers, dismissed female swimmers, and inadequately handled Title IX complaints. The investigation confirmed Cradock fostered an adverse environment within the swim team and participated in sexual harassment.
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has been engaging with swimmers as part of a study into the school's adherence to federal regulations prohibiting gender discrimination.
The lawsuit accuses UMBC of being more than a bystander to Cradock's wrongdoing. The university allegedly disregarded, concealed, and downplayed his misconduct. The Baltimore Sun reports that UMBC's Title IX office had been aware of Cradock's actions since 2019 and did nothing.
According to the filing, Cradock was given almost complete control over swimmers' scholarships and team membership, enabling him to discipline without scrutiny.
The plaintiffs, three men and three women identified by their initials, were UMBC students and swim team members between 2017 and 2022.
According to the lawsuit, UMBC began an investigation into Cradock in November 2020 and instructed him not to contact the plaintiffs. However, the university allegedly did not enforce this order or penalize Cradock for violating it.
The lawsuit further alleges that the male plaintiffs endured frequent inappropriate physical contact and sexual harassment by Cradock. It claims that Cradock's harassment was blatant to the point of demanding to see male swimmers' private parts in the locker room.
It also asserts a subtle "quid pro quo" existed for the swimmers, where ignoring Cradock's misconduct was rewarded, and opposing it was penalized.
The lawsuit also highlights gender discrimination, with Cradock allegedly favoring male swimmers, depriving the women of coaching, and punishing them more severely for transgressions such as consuming alcohol.
The female plaintiffs argue that they were subjected to a hostile environment where they observed the sexual harassment of male swimmers. The lawsuit further states that UMBC discouraged swimmers from reporting these incidents, thereby meddling in the Title IX process.
The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages and legal fees.
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