Figure skater Bridget Namiotka who accused former partner John Coughlin of sexual abuse dead at 32
If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Bridget Namiotka, 32, a celebrated former national and international star in pairs figure skating, had died on July 25. The medal-winning athlete had accused her former pair partner two-time US national pairs champion, John Coughlin of sexual abuse, in May 2019.
The news was confirmed by her parents in an interview with USA TODAY, “Bridget succumbed to her long struggles with addiction after several very difficult years of dealing with the trauma of sexual abuse.” Steve and Maureen Namiotka added, “She was a beautiful child and a wonderful athlete, and we are heartbroken. It is our hope that Bridget’s death will bring new attention to the terrible effects of sexual abuse and addiction in our society.”
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It was on May 19, 2019, the olympian went public in a Facebook post and stated that she was a victim of sexual abuse for two years by Coughlin, when she was just a teen.
She had replied to a post in support of Coughlin, 33, who killed himself, on January 18, 2019. Namiotka wrote, “I’m sorry but john hurt at least 10 people including me. He sexually abused me for 2 years.” In a series of posts, she further said, “Someone that’s innocent doesn’t hang himself. Think about the victims when you’re speaking up for what he did to at least 10 girls.” “Think about all of the girls he hurt. Grooming happens. It happened to me and he hurt a lot of girls. Think about the victims,” she added.
Namiotka teamed up with Coughlin from 2004 to 2007, and together they won three medals in the Junior Grand Prix series and finished ninth at the senior (Olympic) level at the 2007 US National Championships.
Coughlin, who had won two US pairs championships with two other partners, hung himself in his father’s Kansas City home just one day after he faced interim suspension from the US Center for Safesport. The 33-year-old was facing three reports of sexual misconduct, and his death ended any further investigation in February 2019 by SafeSport, as per USA TODAY Sports.
The second victim to openly accuse Coughlin of sexual abuse was Olympic figure skater Ashley Wagner, the 2016 world silver medalist and most successful US female skater of her time. Less than three months after Namiotka’s Facebook posts, Wagner told USA TODAY Sports that he sexually assaulted her in June 2008 following a party at a national team camp in Colorado, when she had just turned 17, and Coughlin was 22.