Harvard places head diving coach on leave amid sexual misconduct .
Harvard University confirms it has placed its head diving coach on leave after learning of allegations of sexual misconduct.
The school says it was unaware of any allegations of misconduct when it hired Chris Heaton as head coach for diving in August of this year.
“Upon learning of allegations of sexual misconduct from media reports, Harvard immediately placed Mr. Heaton on leave, pending a review by Harvard University,” Rachael Dane, director of media relations, said in a statement to NBC10 Boston.
According to a class action complaint against USA Diving, Heaton is accused of soliciting nude photos from female athletes at Ripfest, a diving camp in Indiana. He also allegedly sent pictures of his genitals to young female athletes.
“I’m shocked that somebody of that caliber would be involved in something like this,” said graduate student Mike Vea. “That’s a shame.”
Heaton is not named as a defendant in the complaint, which “involves sexual abuse, exploitation, and the forced labor of USA Diving members by the Team USA coaches, entities, officials, and executives who were entrusted to protect them.”
John Wingfield, the president of Ripfest, is named as a defendant. Multiple times since 2015, female athletes complained about Heaton to Wingfield, who was allegedly dismissive of the claims.
“To hear about something like that, where you can’t even really talk to your coach or respect them, it’s scary,” said Lexi Milunovich of Harvard’s tennis team.