Ex-Swimming Coach Arrested For Sexual Abuse Allegations From 1980s and 1990s
A former Burnsville Swim Club coach has been arrested twice for allegedly sexually abusing two teen girls who were members of his swim team during the 1980s and 1990s. In September, Alfred John “Rocky” O’Neill was charged for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl he was coaching in 1988 and 1989. On Friday, October 19, O’Neill was charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree for allegedly having sexual contact with another girl he was coaching from 1997 to 1998.
The first allegations were reported in June 2018, when a woman told Burnsville police that O’Neill, her former swimming coach, had sexually abused her from 1988 to 1989. The victim told police that she decided to report the abuse after speaking with someone from Safe Sport, a nonprofit organization that investigates and responds to reports of sexual misconduct in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic communities.
The victim told police that she met O’Neill when she started swimming for the Burnsville Swim Club at 14 years old. O’Neill allegedly began initiating sexual contact with the victim when she was 17 years old. He was charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in this case.
O’Neill is scheduled to appear in court for these new charges on December 3.
Legal Recourse For Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now practices in civil court, helping the survivors of sexual abuse find justice, answers, and support. We’ve asked him for some legal commentary on the options for legal recourse available to survivors of child sexual abuse:
Unfortunately, the perpetrators of child sexual abuse are often close to their victims – including family members as well as those in positions of trust, such as teachers, coaches, youth organization leaders, and others that work closely with children. When a child is sexually abused, it’s vital to find the perpetrator as soon as possible and take them off the streets. Additionally, it’s just as important to make sure that the victims and their families get all the support they need. Finally, we must also determine if any third parties are liable for enabling or failing to prevent the abuse.
Third parties are often partially to blame for negligence contributing to abuse, such a failure to properly supervise children under their watch or failing to run a background check before hiring a new employee or volunteer. In cases involving negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against that third party (such as a youth organization, school district, daycare, etc.).
If you or your child has been sexually abused by someone in a position of trust or authority, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.