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Second lawsuit settled in North Whidbey swim coach assault case

By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News-Times Co-editor
October 13, 2012 · Updated 3:45 PM
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The North Whidbey Park and Recreation District has settled a second lawsuit in connection with a young swimmer who was sexually assaulted by former swim coach and district director more than 15 years ago.

Bill Walker, director of the district, announced that the case filed in King County Superior Court was settled for $2.1 million.

Walker stated that the recent settlement with a former North Whidbey Aquatic Club swimmer was “part of the continuing efforts of NWPRD and its insurers to deal, in a responsible way, with the ugly legacy of Andy King.”

Andrew “Andy” King, 62, pleaded no contest to 20 child molestation charges last year in a San Jose court and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He’s accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen young swimmers during a 30-year career as a coach.

The park district’s attorneys settled a previous claim from a former swimmer in June for $1.5 million. A third alleged victim filed a claim against the district in September.

Tacoma attorney Lincoln Beauregard is representing the three women who say they were sexually assaulted by King, who worked at the Oak Harbor pool from 1994 to 1997.

The Oak Harbor police investigated allegations that King had molested a swimmer, the girl who brought the first lawsuit, a few years after King had mysteriously left the district.

Beauregard said the investigation was only “cursory” and should have uncovered the extent of his crimes.

Beauregard said the district was negligent in hiring King without a full background check and then not adequately supervising him. He had unlimited and unsupervised access to minor female members of the swim team.

The victim in the second lawsuit was abused by King from the time she was 11 until she was 14 years old.

“Within the past one or two years, Plaintiff has begun to understand that many problems she has had in her life, and continues to have, were caused by the sexual abuse she suffered as a child from Andrew King,” the lawsuit states.

Walker said the cost of the lawsuit will be paid by the district’s insurance company.

“The fact and amount of the settlement are a reflection of the expense and risk of proceeding to trial, as well as the nature and extent of the damages experienced by the former swimmer over the past approximately 15 years,” he wrote in a statement.

Walker praised recent efforts made by district’s overseeing body, USA Swimming, brought about in part by Andy King’s conviction.

“USAS has put in place a strong set of policies and practices not only designed to prevent these behaviors, but empowering parents to observe and be a part of the prevention process,” he wrote.

Walker encouraged parents and concerned community members to go to usaswimming.org and look under “rules and regulations” for more details.

 

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