Four women have filed SafeSport complaints against former US snowboarding coach Peter Foley alleging sexual misconduct, according to a report from ESPN.
SafeSport issued Foley, 56, a temporary suspension for allegations of misconduct last week. US Ski & Snowboard confirmed Monday that the longtime coach was no longer with the organizationthough it declined to say whether he had been fired or resigned.
Foley had coached for the federation since 1994.
The new allegations in the ESPN story, which the outlet reported have all been given to SafeSport, include sexual assault and coercing women into taking nude photos.
An Olympic medalist said Foley sexually assaulted her after a training camp when she was 19. The athlete said three men, including Foley, slept in one king-sized bed in the same room as three women, who slept in another.
During the night, Foley snuck behind her in bed and “reached his left arm over my body and put his fingers inside me.”
Erin O’Malley, another former athlete on the team, said at a postrace event, Foley followed her and another female athlete into an elevator, pinned her against the wall and tried to kiss her. The other athlete confirmed that account to ESPN.
The Olympian, who spoke to ESPN on the condition of anonymity, and O’Malley were among those who told ESPN of an old boys’ club in which partying and shared lodging enabled Foley.
“He’s frothing over young girls and says crude comments,” the Olympian told ESPN. “It was the culture. It was what guys did. We had drunk guys busting into your room, getting in your bed, humping your leg, grabbing bras out of the drawer and running down the hall with them.”
Olympic snowboarder Callan Chythlook-Sifsof posted about that culture and Foley’s conduct in Instagram posts last month during the Beijing Olympics. A 2010 Olympian, Chythlook-Sifsof wrote that Foley had “taken naked photos of female athletes for over a decade,” among other allegations about the culture of the program.
Foley denied the allegations to USA TODAY Sports following the final snowboardcross competition in Beijing. After that competition, in which the Americans won mixed team gold, three-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Jacobellis confirmed that Foley had been barred from accessing the athletes’ village during the Games.
Howard Jacobs, Foley’s attorney, denied the allegations against Foley to ESPN and told USA TODAY Sports on Monday that “any allegations of sexual misconduct being made against him are false.”
Jacobs said SafeSport had not yet contacted Foley.
Last month, US Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt told USA TODAY Sports that the organization was conducting its own investigation meant to run in parallel to the outside investigation.
A former employee of US Ski & Snowboard also came forward in the ESPN report to say that Foley coerced her into taking nude photos and later sexually assaulted her.
Lindsey Sine Nikola, who worked for the organization from 2006 to 2010 starting in the communications department, told ESPN that Foley asked to stay with her for a World Cup event in Beaver Creek, Colorado, during the 2008-09 season
On a separate night from when Nikola said Foley coerced her into taking the photos, Foley touched her breasts and genitals under her clothes after she had told him no and then ejaculated on her back.
“Thinking back on it made me realize the intent [of the photo shoot] was, ‘We have a secret,’” she told ESPN. “Once photos like this exist, they become their own source of power. They were absolutely a tool for keeping me quiet. I felt like I couldn’t say anything because there were these images of me to discredit me.”
Nikola and O’Malley told ESPN they came forward after Chythlook-Sifsof’s post. Chythlook-Sifsof has declined to comment to USA TODAY Sports, and her attorney de ella did not immediately respond to messages.
“For me, this comes back to inequitable power dynamics,” Nikola told ESPN. “When someone has that level of control, there has to be very clear boundaries because it puts women in a vulnerable position and it raises the question of whether or not consent can actually be given.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism