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USTA draws more fire for appalling handling of sexual abuse lawsuit – Tennis365



In a recent court filing, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) reportedly attempted to have Pam Shriver’s evidence in a sexual assault case suppressed, which has sparked further controversy for the organisation.

Once regarded as one of the most talented young women in the nation, Kylie McKenzie, sued the USTA last year for allegedly neglecting to shield her from sexual abuse.

Anibal Aranda, a USTA coach, was accused of improperly touching the girl when she was still a minor a few years ago with the circumstances around that incident believed to be highly avoidable had the USTA followed a sensible policy.

Aranda has maintained his innocence, but in response, the USTA fired the coach. The results of the United States Centre for SafeSport’s inquiry also supported the alleged victim.

Following a seven-hour hearing conducted by McKenzie in April of last year, Robert Allard, the attorney for the client, claimed that the USTA was “belittling, embarrassing and intimidating survivors.”

Shriver said she felt compelled to testify about her own experiences that happened years earlier to show how little the sport has changed when it comes to protecting the vulnerable.

“In the end, I feel a real pull to support and give some perspective to what it’s like to be a player and have a coaching situation not be professional. I feel like supporting young women who have been traumatized,” Shriver said, as quoted by the New York Times.

It has been revealed, nevertheless, that the USTA tried to persuade the judge to disregard Shriver’s evidence as irrelevant and inadmissible in a document that came to light this week.

READ MORE: USTA institutes player safety review after abuse allegations

The USTA claims that the 22-time doubles Grand Slam winner was not directly aware of McKenzie’s case.

In a statement sent to The Athletic, Amy Judkins, another attorney for Kylie McKenzie, explained the relevant circumstances and contended that a jury could view the USTA’s attempt to obstruct evidence as “gross negligence.”

“Here is what happened. Staciellen Mischel (USTA’s Deputy Chief Legal Officer) cautioned Shriver against speaking out about her personal experience of sexual abuse as a young tennis player, including ‘warning’ Shriver against speaking with Ms. McKenzie’s counsel in this case,” the attorney said.

“Mischel issued that warning soon after Shriver came forward publicly about the sexual misconduct she experienced as a young tennis star, and soon after Shriver and Ms. McKenzie became acquainted over their shared experiences of abuse. Shriver testified that she interpreted this conversation as a warning from USTA: ‘don’t say too much.’ Evidence that defendants attempted to silence victims can be interpreted by a jury as evidence of gross negligence.”

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