MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A former swimming coach at the Burnsville Swim Club has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a minor in the late-1980s.
According to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, 61-year-old Alfred O’Neill of Savage is charged with one felony count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
According to the criminal complaint, a victim contacted Burnsville police on June 4, 2018 and reported that she was sexually abused on multiple occasions by O’Neill from 1988 to 1989. She said she was more willing to report the abuse following recent contact with a person from Safe Sport, which is a nonprofit organization charged with investigating and responding to reports of sexual misconduct within U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
The victim said she first met O’Neill when she was 14 years old when she began swimming for the club. She said O’Neill treated her as a favorite and increased alone time with her when she was 16. By the time she was 17, the victim said he started engaging in sexual conduct with her.
Police questioned O’Neill about the allegations, and he admitted to sexual contact with the victim, but he said that it occurred after she turned 18 years old.
“A student athlete can easily be manipulated into a sexual relationship by a coach whom the student trusts, and such relationships can have long-term negative impacts upon the victim. I wish to commend this victim’s courage in coming forward many years after this alleged crime occurred,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.
O’Neill was arrested on September 12 and will made his first court appearance on the charge at 11 a.m. Thursday.