Coach, former Olympian Zimmerman suspended by SafeSport

Figure skating coach John Zimmerman has been suspended by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for a coverup of an alleged sexual abuse incident involving two of his students.

Zimmerman, inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, is a 2002 Olympian who won three U.S. pairs championships and a world bronze medal with skating partner Kyoko Ina. He can appeal the decision, which could carry as much as a two-year ban.

The suspension, announced Tuesday by SafeSport on its website, detailed the charges as an abuse of process, emotional misconduct and failure to report an incident. USA Today first reported the suspension. SafeSport investigates sexual abuse in Olympic sports.

Zimmerman, 47, will be barred from any skating events run by the U.S. federation or Olympic committee, and also prohibited from attending any facility run by those groups.

The alleged incidents took place in Florida and involved French pairs skater Morgan Cipres, who was coached by Zimmerman. Cipres was investigated by SafeSport for allegedly sending lewd photos in 2017 to a 13-year-old female skater also coached by Zimmerman. SafeSport looked into accusations from the girl’s parents that Zimmerman intimidated her in an effort to silence her because Cipres and his pairs partner, Vanessa James, were headed for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Cipres, who lives in France, and Zimmerman have previously declined to comment on the allegations.

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