Former WKU swimmer claims verbal and physical abuse by teammates - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former WKU swimmer claims verbal and physical abuse by teammates in federal lawsuit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A former Western Kentucky University swimmer has filed a federal lawsuit against the school, athletic officials and teammates, claiming he was verbally, mentally and physically abused

Collin Craig, who lives in California, claims during his freshman year in 2014, teammates forced him to drink, repeatedly hit him in the testicles and made him clean up vomit.

In April, Western suspended its intercollegiate swimming and diving program for five years, after a police investigation into claims of abuse.

Craig's lawsuit, filed in Bowling Green, claims that at a party on Oct. 6, 2014, he was "choked to the point of passing out" by a teammate and ordered to strip to his underwear and wear a horse head mask. A video of that event was shown to other people, according to the suit.

Also, Craig claims he was forced to vandalize a statue on campus of "former WKU president Cherry." At times, members of the swim team would keep Craig "obedient" and dissuade him from reporting the abuse by threatening him with a rifle, the lawsuit claims.

In addition, Craig claims he was threatened with forced sexual violence, suffered sleep deprivation and falsely told that he had been charged with rape.

Athletic Director Todd Stewart, former head coach Bruce Marchionda, associate head coach Brian Thomas, associate athletic directors John McCammon and Craig Biggs are named in the suit.

Former swimmers Harrison Griffin, Seth Musser and Tyler Gorneck are also defendants in the suit.

An investigation by Bowling Green Police and WKU's Title IX Coordinator Huda Melky found evidence of violations of WKU's Student Code of Conduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Title IX Sexual Misconduct / Assault Policy.

During the investigation, police searched a home near WKU's campus.

A collage of pictures that showed highly intoxicated people that were nude or partially nude in compromising positions was found.

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Bob Skipper, Western's director of media relations, said the university had not been formally served with the lawsuit and "we will reserve comment until we have a chance to study the complaint."

The swim team has produced one Olympian in its history. Claire Donahue graduated from WKU in 2011. She went on to win a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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