12th December 2018

Stephen Lopez temporarily overturns ban in sexual misconduct case

In an arbitration hearing, US double Olympic gold medal winner Stephen Lopez temporarily overturned a life ban imposed by USA Taekwondo after a SafeSport investigation found him guilty of sexual misconduct involving a minor. Lopez was issued with a life ban on 6 September, and although his name has been removed from the SafeSport database, he is still listed as banned by USA Taekwondo, subject to appeal. 

Although Arbitrator Jeff Kaplan overturned the ban, the case is still subject to a civil lawsuit. Kaplan ruled that SafeSport had failed to prove the sexual misconduct allegations, because the defendant involved refused to testify due to the pending civil lawsuit, reported USA Today. 

Lopez’s brother and coach, Jean Lopez, also remains listed as temporarily suspended, as his arbitration hearing has yet to take place. A civil lawsuit has been filed by five women against both brothers, the US Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Taekwondo, and SafeSport. The lawsuit alleges that the USOC and USA Taekwondo continued to send young women to training camps and competitions despite being aware of sexual allegations regarding the brothers.

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