BOSTON (WCMH) – Harvard University confirms it has placed its head diving coach on leave after learning of allegations of sexual misconduct.
The school says it was unaware of any allegations of misconduct when it hired Chris Heaton as head coach for diving in August.
“Upon learning of allegations of sexual misconduct from media reports, Harvard immediately placed Mr. Heaton on leave, pending a review by Harvard University,” said Rachel Dane, Director of Media Relations in a statement.
According to a class action complaint against USA Diving, Heaton is accused of soliciting nude photos from female athletes at Ripfest, a diving camp in Indiana. He also allegedly sent pictures of his genitals to young female athletes.
Heaton is not named as a defendant in the complaint, which ‘involves sexual abuse, exploitation, and the forced labor of USA Diving members by the Team USA coaches, entities, officials and executives who were entrusted to protect them.”
John Wingfield, President of Ripfest, is named as a defendant. The lawsuit says Wingfield was dismissive of claims made about Heaton multiple times since 2015.
According to Heaton’s bio on the Harvard Athletics website, Heaton is an Ohio native and spent time coaching the Ohio State Diving Club. According to a release from the Ohio State Diving Club, Heaton was hired as a full-time assistant coach in 2014.