Paralympic Medalist Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teammate

Are athletes really represented by what we see online? Could a world champion really do something unimaginable?

Robert Griswold, a highly decorated para-swimmer, has been accused of sexually assaulting at least one member of the U.S. para-swimming national team. According to swimswam, the mother of the accuser read her son’s journal, where there were descriptions of the abuse he was experiencing. This alleged assault took place at the Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

The alleged victim competes in the Paralympic classification S14. This classification is for intellectually impaired swimmers with IQs of 75 or under. The accuser was allegedly raped to the point of needing rectum surgery. Griswold’s lawyer states that he “vehemently denies any wrongdoing”. This wasn’t the only victim of Griswold’s abuse and this wasn’t the only type of abuse experienced. According to Wikipedia, the accuser states that he was groomed and threatened with retaliation.

Robert Griswold has cerebral palsy. Although this picture is not representative of him, it shows how diverse the Paralympic swimming community is.

The victim had dreams of attending the next two Paralympic games, but after what he experienced, his mother said that he no longer wants to swim. Many people are upset at U.S. Paralympic Swimming for not protecting their athletes. Many more people are upset that the police investigation is taking so long. According to another swimswam article, lots of people are commenting their opinions about whether or not Griswold should be allowed back in the water. They are also expressing their displeasure in the way the police have handled the situation so far.

Griswold has been suspended by SafeSport two times because of allegations of misconduct. One comment on swimswam states, “Let me get this straight… Robert was kicked out of the training center for sexual misconduct charges back in 2020. Then Team USA allowed him to go back unsupervised? He had full access to all athletes and no one was watching or checking on him?” This is just one example of the many comments like this. Tons of people are infuriated by the actions taken by Team USA and SafeSport.

Griswold participated in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, where he proved to be very a successful swimmer.

This accusations were made after Griswold had already been suspended twice. Law enforcement have conducted lengthy forensic examinations, but legal actions against Griswold have yet to be taken. As of October 29, he hasn’t been charged or arrested for the assault.

Robert has cerebral palsy and competes in the Paralympic classes S8/SB7/SM8. His swimming career started at the Ocean County YMCA when he was just six years old. He competed for two NCAA Division II teams: Carson-Newman University and Fresno Pacific University. His first international swimming experience was in 2014. He won his first world championships bronze in 2015. He qualified for the Rio Olympics in 2016, won a bronze medal, and got fourth and fifth place in his other events. He won the 100m backstroke at the World Championships in 2017 and 2019. He was the most decorated male at the 2017 World Championships, winning two gold and two silver medals. He won gold medals in the 100m backstroke and 100 butterfly at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.

People with intellectual disabilities are over seven times more likely to be sexually assaulted than those without disabilities. One National Team member states “Why isn’t there a staff member on the staff to solely take care of these athletes? Robert’s got races, he’s got stuff to worry about. Why is he in charge of these two guys?” Overall, the level of outrage concerning this incident is off the charts. People are demanding for justice and won’t stop until they get it.