Olympic taekwondo superstars Steven and Jean Lopez have been accused of being sexual predators by dozens of women.
The Lopez’s superstardom began to unravel in 2017 when multiple women came forward and said the brothers had assaulted them.
Steven Lopez is a three-time Olympic medalist and his brother, Jean, a veteran coach.
Audrey-Ann LeBlanc told The Daily Beast that she was gang-raped by Steven and two of his friends during a meet-up in May 2010.
LeBlanc had traveled to Dallas to meet Lopez during a taekwondo regional tournament.
Following the tournament, they all met back at a hotel room where she claims Steven handed her an alcoholic beverage that made her feel ill after taking a few sips.
‘I began to have a feeling that something very bad was going to happen,’ LeBlanc told the Daily Beast.
Olympic taekwondo superstars Steven (right) and Jean Lopez (left) have been accused by of being sexual predators by dozens of women
Taekwondo athletes Steven Lopez, Jean Lopez, Diana Lopez and Mark Lopez of the United States pose in the NBC Today Show Studio at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing
Heidi Gilbert (left) came forward with accusations that Jean drugged and sexually assaulted her. Mandy Meloon (right), a former taekwondo participant, claimed that Jean molested her in 2006 when she was 16
Meloon (left in 2005), a bronze medalist at the 1997 and 2005 world championships, also reportedly dated Steven off and on for six years. She claimed Steven once raped her as well
She said Steven guided her into another room where two of his friends were waiting.
One of the friends who was sitting in the chair asked her to sit on the bed facing him, she claims.
She said she turned to Steven, who was standing beside her, and he told her ‘it’s okay’ and then started kissing her before pushing ‘me back onto the bed’.
LeBlanc told the news site that she then was unable to move her hands due to the drink, but she remembered Steven raping her while another man tried to put his penis in her mouth.
The next day she woke up in her own hotel room with no pants on and a fuzzy memory about what happened the night before.
Amber Means, a former member of the junior USA Taekwondo team, also claimed that Steven and his friends gang-raped her in 2008.
She recalled a similar situation as LeBlanc and detailed how Steven allegedly gave her a drink that caused her to black out.
‘It wasn’t an, “Ooh, I feel queasy feeling,”‘ Means told the Daily Best. ‘I was lucid and then it all went dark.’
When she tried to question Steven about the incident the next day, she claims he initially brushed her off.
But Means said eventually, Steven told her that they had sex before he left only to return and find the owner of the condo having sex with her.
Kay Poe (left) and Gabriela Joslin (right), who were also promising female martial arts athletes, have accused Jean and Steven of sexual assault
Poe said that Jean coerced her into performing a sex act on him in 1999. In 2002, during a tournament in Florida, Poe claimed that Jean pinned her to the floor until he ejaculated. Poe is pictured training with Steven in 2000
When she told Steven that that was gang-rape, he allegedly told her that she ‘looked all right to him’.
Mandy Meloon, a former taekwondo participant, claimed that Jean molested her in 2006 when she was 16.
She said Jean made inappropriate advances to her and even entered her hotel room. pulled down her pajama bottoms and put his finger in her vagina when they were a part of the delegation to the World Championships in Cairo, according to the Daily Beast.
Meloon, a bronze medalist at the 1997 and 2005 world championships, also reportedly dated Steven off and on for six years. She claimed Steven once raped her as well.
Heidi Gilbert, another former athlete, alleged that Jean drugged and sexually assaulted her.
She said she did not contact law enforcement officials because ‘they’re not going to believe me, nothing is going to happen’.
Gilbert said she did detail the allegations to investigators for USA Taekwondo and the US Center for SafeSport.
Another woman, identified only as a former member of the junior national team, said she was drugged three times and that Steven once had sex with her while she was unconscious.
She also notified USA Taekwondo and SafeSport but not law enforcement.
Kay Poe and Gabriela Joslin, who were also promising female martial arts athletes, have accused Jean and Steven of sexual assault.
Poe said that Jean coerced her into performing a sex act on him in 1999. In 2002, during a tournament in Florida, Poe claimed that Jean pinned her to the floor until he ejaculated.
In addition to Steven, Jean’s other siblings, Diana and Mark (left with Jean in 2008), have competed in Olympic taekwondo
In April 2018, Jean was declared permanently ineligible after the US Center for SafeSport found he engaged in a ‘decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct’ involving ‘younger female athletes’.
The ban was lifted and replaced by a temporary sanction in August 2018 pending an arbitration hearing.
In January 2019, the arbitration panel ruled in favor of Jean, removing his name from SafeSport’s sanctioned list and allowing him to coach again after he was accused of sexual misconduct.
Four weeks prior, Jean’s brother Steven had his sanction lifted after winning arbitration.
Jean is seen hugging his sister, Diana in 2012 at the Taekwondo Olympic Trials in Colorado
The specific reasoning for the decision in Jean’s case was not revealed, but according to USA Today, a similar sexual misconduct ban against Steven was lifted after the arbitrator cited the absence of the reporting party in the arbitration process.
In its April 2018 decision, SafeSport laid out its case against Jean.
‘This matter concerns a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by an older athlete/coach abusing his power to groom, manipulate and, ultimately, sexually abuse younger female athletes,’ SafeSport said at the time.
‘Given the number of incidents reported over a span of several years and by multiple reporting parties, most of whom have no reasonable motive to fabricate an allegation – much less multiple, distinct incidents – of misconduct, the totality of the circumstances clearly shows a recurrent pattern of behavior on the part of Jean.’
Both brothers have denied the sexual assault allegations against them.
‘I’ve never been inappropriate with anyone,’ Jean Lopez said.
Jean is best known for coaching the US Olympic taekwondo team at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic Games.
In addition to his brother, Steven, Jean’s other siblings, Diana and Mark, have competed in Olympic taekwondo.
Source: dailymail US