A dozen female water polo players will split a $13.85 million sex abuse settlement with USA Water Polo and the International Water Polo Club for failing to protect them from sexual abuse involving coach Bahram Hojreh.
Hojreh has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of sexual abuse involving 10 female athletes during one-on-one coaching sessions, including 9 who were children when the abuse occurred.
Hojreh is accused of reaching under his athletes’ swimsuits and sexually assaulting them during one-on-one training sessions.
USA Water Polo is accused of negligence for failing to act on reports that Hojreh’s athletes were grabbing and sexually penetrating their opponents’ genitals underwater during matches.
At one match, a fight nearly erupted on the pool deck with angry parents and another coach accusing Hojreh of teaching that tactic to the girls on his team.
The athletes claim they were not initially aware of the abuse because Hojreh insisted that the “touching served a professional purpose.”
SafeSport has permanently banned Hojreh from water polo. Since 2018, SafeSport has banned 9 other people associated with USA Water Polo due to criminal matters.