Ladies element new sexual assault, misconduct allegations towards ex-U.S. Snowboard coach Peter Foley


Three former athletes and a former worker of U.S. Ski and Snowboard have accused former longtime head coach Peter Foley of sexual misconduct together with sexual assault, undesirable kissing and touching, and coercing them into taking nude images, in line with interviews and paperwork obtained by ESPN.

The ladies lodged their complaints final week with the U.S. Heart for SafeSport, a watchdog group licensed by Congress to police points associated to sexual abuse in U.S. beginner sports activities. SafeSport then temporarily suspended Foley on Friday, pending its investigation. On Sunday, U.S. Ski and Snowboard announced that Foley was now not employed by the group.

“Any allegations of sexual misconduct being made towards him are false,” Foley’s legal professional, Howard Jacobs, instructed ESPN on Sunday. “Mr. Foley has not engaged in any conduct that violates the SafeSport Code, and he’ll cooperate with the U.S. Heart for SafeSport when and in the event that they contact him.”

Foley, the top coach of the U.S. snowboard crew since its inception in 1994, led the nationwide squad to seven Olympics, together with the newest Beijing Video games. His athletes, female and male, gained a mixed 35 Olympic medals.

However those that got here ahead final week instructed ESPN the medals got here at a excessive worth for ladies working and competing with the crew. They allege ladies have lengthy needed to tolerate sexual misconduct as a result of Foley managed which athletes have been chosen to go to the Olympics they usually feared he would retaliate by withholding Olympic alternatives or ending their employment.

ESPN has interviewed all 4 ladies about their allegations and confirmed that they individually contacted and filed experiences to SafeSport final week that included allegations they relayed of their interviews with ESPN.

Allegations towards Foley, 56, first surfaced publicly throughout the Beijing Olympics in February, when former snowboardcross athlete Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a 2010 Olympian, wrote a sequence of Instagram posts accusing Foley of sexual misconduct and two male athletes of misogynistic and racist conduct. U.S. Ski and Snowboard mentioned on the time that it took “the allegations very significantly and the allegations are being investigated.”

After Chythlook-Sifsof’s Instagram posts, ESPN tried to contact each former worker in addition to each girl who’s a present or former member of the U.S. snowboard crew, interviewing greater than two dozen sources, together with coaches, workers and others linked to this system and the investigation.

One Olympic medalist who has filed an oral criticism with SafeSport instructed ESPN her report consists of an allegation that Foley sexually assaulted her whereas she participated in a U.S. coaching camp he ran when she was 19. The athlete, who spoke on the situation her title not be used, mentioned she did not carry out properly on the camp and initially did not make the crew.

On the camp’s conclusion, she mentioned, Foley drove the athletes to the airport, telling them they’d all be sleeping collectively in the identical room till their flights the following day. The athlete mentioned three males slept in a single king-sized mattress, whereas she and two different ladies slept in one other.

“I used to be on the sting of the mattress and I used to be asleep and at one level I really feel somebody sneak in behind me within the mattress,” the athlete mentioned. She mentioned that she realized it was Foley, and that the coach “reached his left arm over my physique and put his fingers inside me.”

“I simply laid there,” she mentioned. “I keep in mind simply laying there in shock. It occurred for some time and it simply stopped and he acquired up and left.”

The athlete mentioned she had instructed just one relative about what occurred till she learn Chythlook-Sifsof’s Instagram posts in February.

She and several other different athletes interviewed by ESPN described a crew tradition that was celebrated for its party-like ambiance and casual touring fashion, which they mentioned enabled male athletes and coaches, together with Foley, to behave with impunity whereas sharing chalets and different sorts of lodging with their feminine counterparts.

“It’s a good ol’ boys membership,” mentioned Erin O’Malley, who was one of many first ladies to hitch the U.S. snowboard crew in 1995, when she was 16. “Do as we wish and hold your mouth shut.”

“There was plenty of rowdiness,” O’Malley mentioned. “Boys might behave any means they wished. I did not know any higher and I believed, ‘Effectively, that is how it’s. That is how the boys’ crew acts. And us ladies do what we have to do to make it by means of the day.'”

The Olympic medalist who mentioned she was assaulted on the coaching camp instructed ESPN that by the point she did make the crew, Foley “had established himself as a unclean canine.”

“He is frothing over younger ladies and says crude feedback,” the athlete mentioned. “It was the tradition. It was what guys did. We had drunk guys busting into your room, getting in your mattress, humping your leg, grabbing bras out of the drawer and operating down the corridor with them.”

The athlete mentioned it was inside such an setting that Foley intercepted her as she exited a postrace occasion and started to kiss her.

The athlete instructed ESPN she did not really feel as if she might inform Foley to cease as a result of he was in command of seeding athletes and managed who would journey to World Cup competitions. Because of this, he successfully determined which athletes would make the Olympics.

“There’s now this energy place,” the athlete mentioned. “He can say I am unable to begin on this World Cup and I am unable to be within the Video games.”

Foley finally stopped kissing her, the athlete mentioned. “He stops and I am like, ‘I am leaving. That is tremendous inappropriate.’ I mentioned, ‘This shouldn’t be taking place. You are a coach, I am an athlete. You are married!'”

She mentioned it was a number of years later, when she and others have been celebrating the Olympic medal she had simply gained, that Foley approached her once more.

“He whispers in my ear, ‘I nonetheless keep in mind the way you have been respiratory,'” the lady instructed ESPN. “I knew. I knew precisely what the f— he was speaking about. It gave me chills. It introduced me again to being 19.

“What compels somebody to assume or say that?”

She and the opposite three ladies instructed ESPN that they’ve agreed to cooperate with SafeSport’s multistep investigatory course of that can embrace written and verbal statements of alleged wrongdoing.

Lindsey Sine Nikola, who labored for U.S. Ski and Snowboard from 2006 to 2010, instructed ESPN she additionally filed an preliminary report with SafeSport final week alleging that Foley coerced her into taking nude images and later sexually assaulted her at a World Cup ski race in December 2008.

Nikola began with the group within the communications division whereas she was nonetheless finding out on the College of Utah. “My first and rising impression of the snowboarders was they’re, like, a household,” Nikola mentioned. “It felt like a enjoyable household that you just wished to be a part of. It was every little thing you might need in your first skilled expertise, to be accepted by your friends.”

Nikola mentioned she was raised within the Mormon religion and “grew up in just a little little bit of a bubble.” Through the 2008-09 season, Nikola wished to go to the X Video games in Aspen, Colorado, an occasion she usually would not attend. “If I wished to go, I wanted to discover a place to remain after which discuss to my boss [the VP of communications] about going,” she instructed ESPN.

Nikola mentioned Foley invited her to remain at one of many crew homes. In return, she mentioned, he requested if he might keep together with her at a World Cup ski race in Beaver Creek, Colorado, the place he wasn’t teaching. “He did images. He was all the time capturing occasions and mentioned, ‘I haven’t got a spot to remain. Wouldn’t it be OK if I bunk with you?'” On the time, Nikola mentioned, she thought the request appeared “regular.” She mentioned she assumed that both the room would have two beds or Foley would sleep in a cot that the resort supplied.

“However he ought to by no means have requested to remain in a room alone with me based mostly on his place,” Nikola instructed ESPN. “I did not have the expertise to take care of that as a result of I believed it was a traditional factor to do based mostly on how the crew traveled collectively. I did not know the place I used to be placing myself in.”

Nikola mentioned when racing was postponed attributable to climate, Foley confirmed her “attractive” images he’d taken of an athlete who was clothed and requested if she’d love to do an analogous picture shoot. “I mentioned I might love to do this.” However she mentioned that when she returned to the room for the shoot, Foley requested to {photograph} her sitting in mattress together with her naked again seen, in what she recalled him describing as “artsy.” She mentioned she “felt caught” however agreed as a result of she did not need to appear troublesome or uptight.

“There’s this individual I feel is pleasant and reliable and I am a part of this crew neighborhood and I do not need to do something that makes him really feel like I am being prude or standoffish,” she mentioned. “I need to look like I am easygoing. So, I let him.”

Nikola mentioned Foley continued to stress her to slowly reveal an increasing number of of her physique till she was completely nude. “I felt very anxious afterward. I felt like I had given somebody quite a lot of management as a result of I might by no means need anyone to see these,” she instructed ESPN. “I believed by means of a litany of worst-case situations. What if he confirmed somebody and I misplaced my job? Or he confirmed somebody they usually thought much less of me?

“I feel an vital query is why is an individual able of energy asking to take images of a a lot youthful worker and colleague? He is the top coach. The facility dynamics have been inequitable.”

Nikola mentioned when she learn Chythlook-Sifsof’s posts in February, which accused Foley of taking “bare images of feminine athletes for over a decade,” she realized she won’t be the one one. She mentioned she believes the images have been a strategy to groom her for what occurred subsequent.

“Pondering again on it made me notice the intent [of the photo shoot] was, ‘Now we have a secret.’ As soon as images like this exist, they develop into their very own supply of energy. They have been completely a software for preserving me quiet. I felt like I could not say something as a result of there have been these photographs of me to discredit me.”

On a separate night time on the similar occasion, Nikola mentioned, she left early from a crew dinner as a result of she was drained. She went again to the resort room and fell asleep within the mattress, assuming Foley would sleep within the cot in her room like he had the earlier night time. “I hear him come by means of the door and the following factor I do know, he crawls in my mattress,” she mentioned. “He asks me to rub his again.”

Nikola mentioned she felt uncomfortable however satisfied herself she was overreacting and consented to a again rub.

“In some unspecified time in the future, he says that he needs to do one thing bodily with me,” she mentioned. “I’m surprised as a result of my intestine was making an attempt to inform me all alongside that I ought to take away myself from the state of affairs and I used to be telling myself I used to be overreacting. However I wasn’t. I mentioned ‘no.’ I mentioned, ‘Pay attention. No. You are married. There’s 1,000,000 the explanation why this is not going to occur, however no.'”

Nikola mentioned she then moved away from Foley within the mattress, however he started to ask her intimate questions, together with whether or not she wished them to the touch themselves in entrance of one another. “I mentioned no. Then he began to the touch me bodily. I used to be surprised as a result of I mentioned no and there he’s along with his palms on me, touching me underneath my garments and I am frozen,” she mentioned. He continued to the touch her breasts and genitals with out her consent, she mentioned. “I simply sort of mentally shrunk inside myself and waited for it to be over.”

Nikola mentioned Foley undressed, rolled her onto her abdomen and ejaculated onto her again earlier than going to his cot and falling asleep. “I keep in mind saying, ‘You are an a–hole,'” Nikola instructed ESPN. “The subsequent day, he mentioned one thing to the impact of apologizing for forcing himself on me. I recall that.”

Nikola mentioned she tried to proceed working alongside the athletes she revered and admired however carried a worry of individuals discovering out what she mentioned had occurred and never believing her facet of the story. She left the place a couple of yr later.

“For me, this comes again to inequitable energy dynamics,” she mentioned. “When somebody has that stage of management, there needs to be very clear boundaries as a result of it places ladies in a weak place and it raises the query of whether or not or not consent can really be given.”

Like Nikola, O’Malley got here ahead publicly for the primary time in an interview with ESPN after seeing Chythlook-Sifsof’s posts. In spoken and written complaints to SafeSport, O’Malley mentioned Foley adopted her and one other feminine athlete into an elevator after a postrace occasion, pinned her towards the wall and tried to kiss her.

“What I can see in my thoughts is Peter’s physique pressed towards me and my again towards the wall of the elevator,” O’Malley mentioned. “From there I keep in mind pondering ‘Oh s—, Peter is following us to our room.'”

The opposite feminine athlete, who requested for anonymity, supported O’Malley’s account. “Peter has her pinned up towards the wall,” she instructed ESPN. “He’d been ingesting. She’s like, ‘Foley, cease. Cease it.’ He is making an attempt to kiss her and he has her pinned. We run out and we’re making an attempt to get away and he is like, ‘I am coming with you,’ and I am like, ‘No.'”

O’Malley instructed ESPN she remembers, “operating into the resort room and hiding. I am making an attempt to get underneath the mattress to keep away from additional contact from him.”

Her fellow athlete added, “I’ve an image in my thoughts of him getting in her mattress and sitting in her mattress and saying, ‘I am not leaving till you come out.’ And I am like, ‘You must depart.'”

Foley finally gave up and left, in line with each ladies.

Chythlook-Sifsof instructed ESPN she made her preliminary social media posts after making an attempt to vary the crew’s tradition from inside for years, first as an athlete and later as a improvement coach who educated younger ladies recognized as Olympic prospects.

“I see him doing bizarre grooming stuff with the following era of athletes,” Chythlook-Sifsof mentioned. “I have been targeted on how, over the long run, am I going to do one thing about Foley and alter teaching with the hope that possibly issues will likely be totally different.”

Chythlook-Sifsof, who’s queer and one in every of few athletes of colour to compete on the snowboardcross crew, instructed ESPN that she usually endured racism and sexism from her male teammates. Reasonably than punish them for that conduct, Foley rewarded these athletes by “bringing them into the fold” and icing out those that spoke up, Chythlook-Sifsof mentioned. She went alongside and even participated at occasions inside this tradition, she mentioned, as a result of she felt she needed to. “That is the way you survive.”

By means of her legal professional, Chythlook-Sifsof submitted a written report back to SafeSport on Thursday detailing an inventory of allegations she witnessed and personally skilled throughout her 14-year tenure with the crew.

In 2014, Chythlook-Sifsof complained to Foley and an assistant coach about what she calls a “horrifying” confrontation with a a lot bigger male athlete after he frequently used the N-word in what she believes was an try and taunt her. She mentioned Foley reprimanded the athlete however quickly after retaliated towards her by notifying her she wouldn’t obtain a spot on the 2014 Olympic crew. A number of months later, she was reduce from the crew solely.

Further sources linked to the crew instructed ESPN they too have been afraid to return out publicly with their allegations for worry of retaliation and a perception that nothing will change.

A number of sources instructed ESPN they didn’t really feel there was a girl able of authority whom they may belief in the event that they discovered themselves subjected to undesirable sexual advances. Since U.S. Snowboard’s inception in 1994, it has had just one feminine coach — and none on the Olympic stage.

“Feminine coaches may very well be a precious useful resource,” Nikola mentioned. “There are completely ladies who’re greater than succesful to assist athletes succeed, and we must be seeing these ladies teaching all the best way as much as the Olympic stage.”

Nikola, O’Malley, Chythlook-Sifsof and others mentioned they’re now talking out publicly, and filed their complaints towards Foley with SafeSport, with the intent of making a safer setting for present and future athletes and workers of U.S. Ski and Snowboard.

“My hope is this may be a part of normalizing reporting abuse and for anybody who could be on the market with an expertise like this to really feel extra empowered to return ahead,” Nikola mentioned.

“I do know there are most likely nonetheless individuals who will assume that folks like me bear duty in situations like this, however I’m not chargeable for a person assaulting me after I clearly and repeatedly mentioned no.”

Present and former members of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard crew in addition to anybody related to a sport that falls underneath the jurisdiction of the U.S. Heart for SafeSport could make a report 24 hours a day by calling 833-5US-SAFE (587-7233) or by reporting online.

All survivors of sexual assault can join 24 hours a day with a educated workers member from a sexual assault supplier of their space by calling the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (656-4673).

Alyssa Roenigk is a senior author and Tisha Thompson is an investigative reporter for ESPN. Attain them at and On Twitter, their handles are @alyroe and @TishaESPN.

ESPN’s John Mastroberardino contributed to this report.

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