The U.S. Center for SafeSport lifted the taekwondo coaching ban on Jean Lopez.
Lopez has a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct. An arbitrator for the center vacated the earlier decision. As a result, SafeSport notified Heidi Gilbert and Kay Poe, who had reported the abuse.
Steven Lopez is best known as one of the world’s all-time great taekwondo athletes, but USA TODAY Sports has discovered that he’s at the center of a sexual misconduct case.
The ban was first lifted during the appeals process and replaced with a “temporary restriction.”
Lopez’s brother Steven had his SafeSport ban overturned on appeal in December 2018. He was accused by former taekwondo athlete, Nina Zampetti of inappropriately touching her and asking for oral sex when she was between the ages of 10 and 16.
Zampetti declined to testify in person for the arbitrator, while Steven Lopez did, along with multiple witnesses.
The Lopez’s are known as the first family of taekwondo. Jean Lopez coached the national team for over a decade. Steven Lopez won three Olympic medals and they have another brother and a sister in the sport.
The brothers face an ongoing civil lawsuit where five women say they were sexually abused. Other people who worked for USA Taekwondo are also named in the suit. SafeSport also is a party in that lawsuit.
Jean Lopez’s attorney, Howard Jacobs told USA Today that his client intends on returning back to coaching.
“He’s said all along that the allegations were false. He can get back to coaching now. That’s a good development.”
During the era of #MeToo, sexual misconduct of all kinds is now being revealed regardless of the industry. Just how much justice its survivors will receive is the real question.