Former NBA player Chris Dudley has publicly vouched for Brett Kavanaugh’s character in the wake of sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee, but Kavanaugh’s former Yale classmate also defended a swim coach accused of sexually abusing his students ten years ago.
The coach was ultimately arrested and banned from USA Swimming.
> The case took place roughly a decade ago, when Dudley vouched for the character of disgraced Lake Oswego swim coach Don King, who was accused of felony counts of sexual abusing minors he had coached.
> According to a post at the progressive website BlueOregon, which chronicled the September 2008 minutes of a Lake Oswego School Board hearing, Dudley testified as a key witness for King, who was at the time trying to get his old job back.
That document has since been removed from the Lake Oswego School District website, but it showed that Dudley was in full support of the swimming coach:
> “Mr. Dudley resides in Lake Oswego and has three children—ages 9, 8, and 6—all of whom have been coached by Mr. King,” the passage reads. “Mr. Dudley noted that Mr. King assisted him when he had to rehab in the pool following an injury when playing for the Blazers. Mr. King assisted Mr. Dudley with water exercises that had therapeutic value, as well as some manipulation of his body…Within the context in which Mr. King provided massage therapy to Mr. Dudley, Mr. Dudley indicated that he did not consider it sexual or harassing in nature. He characterized Mr. King as a caring individual and felt valued and cared about at an emotional level…Mr. Dudley stressed that Mr. King truly cares about his swimmers and strives to ensure that everyone he works with improves.”
> “Mr. King coached all of Mr. Dudley’s children, as well as many of their friends. He observed Mr. King having children on his lap, having his hand on the clothed buttocks of children, and pulling children over by hooking a finger on the inside of a bathing suit, as well as other nurturing, emotionally connective interaction with children (boys and girls) of all ages,” the passage continues. “Mr. Dudley conceded that he would have been uncomfortable observing any coach other than Mr. King perform these actions with his children if he was unfamiliar with the person and/or context.”
The Daily Beast notes that a July 2008 story in the Oregonian also stated that "Several parents, including former Trail Blazers basketball player Chris Dudley, said they were not concerned about King hugging and kissing their children or patting them on the buttocks."
> At the time, King’s story was a major scandal in Oregon, during which the accused was arrested in 2007 and pleaded not guilty to multiple charges. A jury ultimately acquitted King in 2009, though jurors made clear they were disturbed by his physical actions toward teen girls, deeming them “inappropriate and troubling.” He was also banned that year from USA Swimming for the rest of his life.
King was also accused by a woman of having sexually abused her when she was 16 in the 1980s and on his swim team in California. She said the abuse eventually escalated to including oral sex, though King’s attorney insisted her account was fabricated.
> During this saga, Dudley, who later ran for governor as a Republican in 2010, was perhaps King’s most high-profile character witness. Today, he’s also attempting to help exonerate Judge Kavanaugh, even in the face of several other contradictory accounts about his Yale classmate have emerged from contemporaries. Dudley is Kavanaugh’s good friend from Yale and reportedly a bar-fight comrade. On Monday, the White House even promoted Dudley’s on-record comments regarding the judge and alleged attempted rapist.
> “I went out with [Brett] all the time. He never blacked out. Never even close to blacked out,” Dudley toldThe Washington Post last month. “There was drinking, and there was alcohol. Brett drank, and I drank. Did he get inebriated sometimes? Yes. Did I? Yes. Just like every other college kid in America.”
The Daily Beast noted that following Dudley’s statement regarding Kavanaugh, another Yale classmate — Charles Ludington — was compelled to end his friendship with the former NBA player.
> “I’m sad to say my friendship with Chris is over. He’s not telling the truth,” Ludington told the Post. “I think he has been trying to protect Brett, like some jock omertà.”