Wednesday, April 17, 2024

A former Olympic athlete admits to sexually hurting boys – but the exact number of victims is still unclear, according to the District Attorney

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When they were boys, they saw him as a respected coach and guide. As adults, they now describe him as a “bad person” who misused his fame from the Olympics to control young athletes and sexually harm them.

After more than 40 years, Conrad Mainwaring, now 72, admitted to 14 charges of inappropriate touching involving nine boys at a sports camp in Massachusetts. Apart from the criminal cases in Massachusetts, seven men have filed lawsuits in New York, accusing Mainwaring of sexual assault, with the possibility of more victims yet to come forward.

According to Timothy Shugrue, the district attorney in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, the exact number of victims is still unknown. Mainwaring, once an Olympian representing Antigua, ran hurdles at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Following the Olympics, he worked at Camp Greylock, a boys’ sports camp, from 1976 to 1979.

Many victims kept the abuse hidden for years, feeling too uncomfortable or ashamed to speak up. One victim, Michael Waxman, who was assaulted at the age of 13, only realized the extent of Mainwaring’s abuse decades later. Mainwaring’s manipulation tactics, such as forming an exclusive “squad” of athletes, allowed him to exploit the boys’ admiration.

In court, victims confronted Mainwaring, revealing the long-lasting trauma they endured. As part of a plea deal, Mainwaring received a 10 to 11-year prison sentence.

After leaving Camp Greylock, Mainwaring moved to upstate New York and continued his abusive behavior. Joe Kriesberg, a former high school student athlete, described Mainwaring as a manipulative “monster” who abused his trust. Kriesberg filed a lawsuit against Syracuse University, where Mainwaring later worked, accusing the institution of neglecting to conduct a background check and allowing Mainwaring to live on campus.

Other victims in New York have also filed civil lawsuits, seeking accountability from those who enabled Mainwaring. The situation highlights the pervasive issue of sexual abuse in youth sports, echoing the scandal involving Larry Nassar’s abuse of gymnasts. The victims hope that by sharing their stories, they empower others to seek justice and prevent further harm.

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