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(NEW YORK POST) – A Harvard University diving coach has been placed on leave amid accusations of sexual misconduct — including claims that he texted pictures of his penis to young female athletes.
Chris Heaton, 31, allegedly solicited nude photos from the women, as well, after meeting them at an Indiana diving academy, according to court documents.
While he is not named as a defendant, Heaton’s alleged behavior is outlined in a class-action lawsuit filed in the Hoosier State this week.
Harvard confirmed his involvement in a statement to The Post on Wednesday, saying it was “unaware of any allegations” when he was hired as the head coach for diving in August 2018.
“Upon learning of these allegations from media reports, Harvard immediately placed Mr. Heaton on leave, pending a review of these allegations by Harvard University,” said school spokesperson Rachael Dane.
According to the suit, athletes began complaining about Heaton’s sexual misconduct in 2015.
Female divers at Ripfest Diving, the competitive diving camp where Heaton worked, accused him of soliciting nude pics and claimed he sent photos of his penis to them — however, they said program officials didn’t bat an eye.
Ripfest has been listed as the primary defendant in the suit, along with USA Diving. Neither have responded to requests for comment.
Upon being hired in August 2018, Heaton was described as an “outstanding coach and educator” by Harvard Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise.
“He brings a great track record of helping students achieve success at the highest level,” Scalise said in a press release, which included quotes from Heaton about his family.
“My wife, three daughters, and I are excited to relocate to Cambridge,” Heaton said. “I look forward to bringing my knowledge, experience, and passion to the team and partnering with the coaching staff to continue to foster an environment that creates successful scholars, athletes, and leaders.”
Heaton is now the second Harvard Athletics employee to be hit with sexual misconduct allegations since April 2017, according to The Harvard Crimson.
Former track coach Walter W. Johnson was reportedly arrested that month and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
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