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Bridget Namiotka, John Coughlin’s former figure skating partner, says he abused her

Bridget Namiotka and John Coughlin
Bridget Namiotka, who accuses John Coughlin of sexual abuse, at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships with him in 2006. Pic credit: International Skating Union

Bridget Namiotka, a former figure skating partner of late champion John Coughlin, has claimed he sexually abused her for two years.

She also claimed in a Facebook post on Sunday that Coughlin — who committed suicide in January 2019 — abused several other women.

“I’m sorry but john hurt at least 10 people including me,” Bridget Namiotka, 29, wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening in response to a message posted in support of Coughlin.

She alleged that Coughlin sexually abused her for two years and added that “Nobody innocent hangs themself.”

Urging Coughlin’s supporters to think about his victims, Namiotka alleged that Coughlin groomed the women he abused.

“Grooming happens,” she continued. “It happened to me and he hurt a lot of girls. Think about the victims.”

When asked to respond to Namiotka’s allegations, Tara Modlin, Coughlin’s former spokesperson, described Namiotka as “unstable.”

“It seems that you want me to comment on an unstable person’s Facebook comment,” Modlin said in a message texted to USA Today. “I don’t really understand your question… my suggestion is to call some of his other partners.”

But attorney John Manly, who represents Namiotka and two other women that Coughlin allegedly sexually abused when they were minors, is said to have confirmed that the Facebook comments were “definitely” written by his client Namiotka.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Manly said that Namiotka felt compelled to come forward following several comments on Facebook in support of Coughlin. He also alleged that some were accusing Namiotka and the other women of killing Coughlin.

Namiotka was paired with Coughlin in 2004 when she was 14 and he 18. They remained together until 2007 when she was 17 and he 21.

Namiotka and Coughlin won three Junior Grand Prix series medals and finished in ninth place at the senior level of the U.S. national championships in 2007.

He later won a U.S. pairs championship title in 2011 with Caitlin Yankowskas, and another with Caydee Denney in 2012.

He hanged himself in his family home in Kansas City at the age of 33, a day after he was given an interim suspension by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the organization which investigates abuse allegations.

The details of the allegations against him were not made public, but it was alleged that he was under scrutiny following three separate reports of sexual misconduct. But a few days before he committed suicide he claimed the allegations against him were unfounded.

After Coughlin’s death in January, SafeSport said in February that it had stopped investigating him.

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