Paralympic Swimmer Robert Griswold Faces Sexual Assault Accusations Against Teammate With Autism
Paralympic swimmer Robert Griswold is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a fellow American Paralympic swimmer according to a lawsuit filed last week in Colorado.
The 25-year-old is accused of targeting a 19-year-old teammate who has autism and competes in the classification for swimmers with IQs of 75 and under.
Griswold, who has cerebral palsy and competes in a different classification than the alleged victim, oversaw the intellectually impaired athletes. He allegedly groomed and manipulated the victim with whom he shared a room at the Tokyo games.
The kind of targeted sexual assault as outlined in the lawsuit reflects a larger epidemic that often goes unreported or unrecognized. According to 2018 investigations by NPR, people with intellectual disabilities are sexually assaulted at seven times the rate of those without intellectual disabilities.
The lawsuit also lists the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the U.S. Center for SafeSport as defendants. The lawsuit claims that these organizations were complicit in allowing the abuse to continue.
Rumblings of sexual misconduct by Griswold have been swirling since as early as August. Griswold was issued a “temporary suspension” on August 23 due to “allegations of misconduct” according to the SafeSport Centralized Disciplinary Database.
Adding fuel to the fire, according to an October 2021 SafeSport Audit Report, USA Swimming is “past due” on implementing corrective actions that were meant to be completed by February 28, 2022. The corrections include updating written policy to ensure that “individuals who are who have been suspended and/or banned by the NGB and the U.S. Center for SafeSport are not able to participate in the event or competition. Specifically, volunteers and media personnel.”
Griswold held considerable power on the Paralympic team and was elected by fellow athletes to represent American athletes on the international Athletes Advisory Group. He has won several medals at international competitions and holds multiple World and American swimming records.
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