Another Ohio State University employee has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct, this time by a former diver who alleges that during the time she trained with the university’s diving club as a young teenager, her 28-year-old year old coach Will Bohonyi coerced her into a sexually abusive relationship.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Eszter Pryor, now 21, has filed a class action lawsuit against Bohonyi, U.S.A. Diving, and the Ohio State University Diving Club. The details she provided to the Times of how Bohonyi forced her into a sexual relationship are devastating and all too familiar:
Ms. Pryor didn’t know who to turn to for help when Mr. Bohonyi began paying special attention to her in 2014. He began sending her text messages, including one that said, “I’m interested in a girl whose name begins with the letter ‘e.’” She said he subsequently sent her a text message with a photo of his genitals and asked her to reciprocate, which she did.
She said she felt forced to do what he asked because he was in a position of authority and had power over her diving career. She competed in the trials for the United States Olympic team when she was 13. She worried that a criticism of a coach would derail her Olympic goals.
Those messages from Mr. Bohonyi turned into one-on-one meetings, as well as oral and vaginal sex in his car on the Ohio State campus, Ms. Pryor said. The first time they had sex, she was 16, she said. He was 28.
She eventually disclosed the abuse to her parents, who then notified Ohio State University officials. Bohonyi was fired by the university shortly after, yet according to Pryor, was still working as a diving coach as of January of this year, despite being placed on U.S.A. Diving’s public list of banned coaches. Pryor, meanwhile, has since dropped out of school, leaving Penn State University after developing an eating disorder.
Ohio State is also currently in the midst of a wide-ranging sexual misconduct investigation of former professor and team doctor Dr. Richard H. Strauss. More than 100 students, including several on the men’s wrestling team, have charged that Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, sexually abused them during his time at the university.
Pryor told the Times of Bohonyi: “Everybody liked him and so I thought what he was doing was just normal. I didn’t think he was being serious at first, but then I didn’t know how to stop him.”
Correction: A previous version of this post described the first wave of allegations as towards a coach. Dr. Richard H. Strauss was a professor and team doctor. Jezebel regrets the error.