Former IU divers join lawsuit against former USA Diving coach


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTHR) — Two former Indiana University divers are adding their names to a lawsuit against Indianapolis-based USA Diving, claiming the sport's governing body did not do enough to protect young athletes from sexual abuse. At the same time, I.U. officials are conducting an independent review into accusations a former volunteer coach may have had improper sexual relationships with students, including those two female divers.

Both student athletes claim former USA Diving coach Will Bohonyi forced them into sexual relations while he was their coach in Bloomington. Indiana University is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The suit was originally filed in July against USA Diving, Bohonyi and Ohio State University by a former Ohio diver Estee Pryor. USA Diving banned Bohonyi from the organization in 2015. Pryor says that happened about six months after Ohio State learned of the relationship, fired Bohonyi and notified the organization.

WTHR does not typically identify victims of sexual assault, but Pryor has given permission for her name to be used publicly.

In the latest accusations added to the federal lawsuit, one of the former IU divers claims in 2008, when she was 17 years old, Bohonyi convinced her to send him naked pictures. She claims that several months later, he threatened to tell her boyfriend about the photographs unless she engaged in a sexual act with him.

The other former IU diver's experience was first detailed in the initial lawsuit, but she was not named as a plaintiff. Attorneys added her as a party to the case in August.

She claims that in 2009 Bohonyi befriended her and was sympathetic about her struggles on the school team. The lawsuit says that, at the time, Bohonyi was a volunteer coach for the University team and was an assistant coach for the Indiana Diving Club.

This athlete claims that within weeks of meeting her, Bohonyi made sexual demands and then "forced her to trade sex for diving coaching," according to the lawsuit. She says eventually, he required some kind of sexual service every day and forced her to send him explicit photos. The diver claims Bohonyi forced himself on her for nearly two years, while they were Bloomington and as they traveled to various diving meets around the country. The woman says Bohonyi continued to harass her even after she left the diving program in Indiana.

Officials at Indiana University told 13 Investigates, the first they heard of any accusations against Bohonyi during his time in Indiana was when this lawsuit was filed in July.

Officials say they quickly started investigating.

"Immediately after learning of allegations regarding a former volunteer diving coach, IU initiated an independent review," the University said in a written statement. "As the review continues, these latest allegations, which are especially troubling, will be thoroughly pursued."

The school's statement also noted, "Indiana University will not tolerate inappropriate conduct by those entrusted to serve our students."

The attorneys who filed the lawsuit on Pryor's behalf have asked the judge to approve it as a class-action case.

Bohonyi has not been charged with any crime. WTHR's sister station, WBNS in Columbus, Ohio, has tried to speak with Bohonyi on several occasions related to the lawsuit, but he has said only, "No comment."

Bohonyi was a member of the IU diving team as a student through at least the 2008-2009 school year. According to the University, he worked as an assistant volunteer coach for the team from 2010 to 2012. The lawsuit claims Bohonyi also worked as a coach for the Indiana Dive Club, a USA Diving sanctioned club in Bloomington.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, USA Diving declined to comment on the specific accusations, but it did share a written statement that read, in part, "Providing a safe environment for our members is of tremendous importance to USA Diving, and we take these matters very seriously."