Former water jumper Jan Hempel wants to sue the German Swimming Association (DSV) for millions of euros in damages for years of sexual abuse by his coach. This was announced by Hempel’s lawyer Thomas Summerer in the ARD “Sportschau”. “It is the most blatant case of abuse that German sport has ever experienced,” said Summerer.
With more than 1,200 cases of sexual abuse over a period of 14 years, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you demand a seven-digit amount from the DSV, said the lawyer. It is a precedent in German sport that will be followed through with all consistency.
Hempel had been abused by his late trainer Werner Langer in the 1980s and 1990s. The 51-year-old, who won silver and bronze from the tower at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, went public with it last summer. This triggered a broad discussion about abuse and violence in German sport and how to deal with it.
Hempel accused the association of cover-up. The DSV then suspended the national coach Lutz Buschkow, who is said to have known about the attacks on Hempel, but did not do anything decisive. Buschkow said, however, that he only found out about the allegations of abuse when they were published. “The organization of the German Swimming Association has completely failed in the monitoring and control of its coaches. This organizational fault means that an association is liable,” said Summerer.
They have spoken to the association about compensation. There is a verbal declaration of intent that they want to make amends and pay compensation, but so far this has not happened. “Nothing happened that would keep our trust in the German Swimming Association high,” said Summerer. You came across a cartel of silence, which is why you have now left the discussion level. (dpa)
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