Former figure skater talks about abuse from coach

    10:21 AM, Sep 26, 2013   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CNN) - Morgan Grant was a rising star in figure skating and was considered one of the best in the world. But she says her hopes were dashed by the very man she thought would lead her to Olympic glory when she says he began making sexual advances towards her.

    She says, "I feel like everything that I accomplished came with a cost. It came with strings and I didn't feel like any of it was my own anymore. It was all his and he took it all away. He took everything."

    Morgan was once considered one of the best figure skaters for her age in the United States. She was an ice dancer who was well on her way to compete for the United States at the highest levels. She says, "I wanted a Team USA jacket that said Team USA on the back. And I would've been part of the U.S. Skating Team representing America in international competitions."

    The last piece of the puzzle, Morgan says, was to hire a first class coach, Genrick Shretenski, an accomplished ice dancer representing the Soviet Union at the 1988 Winter Olympics. It was a no-brainer, she and her dad Ken Grant thought. He says, "He really knew his stuff and everybody thought he was one of the better-best ice dancers for a very long time."

    According to Morgan and her father, that coach turned out to be a predator. And in the middle of this competition at Lake Placid in 2011, he asked 16-year-old Morgan to join him in his hotel room to talk about the competition, or so she thought. She says, "He closed the door and reached behind me to turn off the light, then pushed me against the wall. And he started kissing me. And he is 50 years old and a smoker. And I was like really overwhelmed with everything that was going on. He pushed me onto the bed in the hotel room and climbed on top of me and started touching me inappropriately and the kissing continued. And this lasted for about 20 minutes. I don't remember a single thought that ran through my head during that moment, but I know that I finally looked up and said, 'It's late. I have to go.' And, thank God, he listened."

    She fled his room and tried to reset her focus. She says, "I got up and I left and I went back to my room and I, you know, I laid down and I just tried to forget the whole thing. We had a competition the next morning, I couldn't really afford to think about it."

    Over the next few weeks, Shretenski even began sending her suggestive text messages. She says, "He would say stuff like, 'I miss you,' or 'I love you'. Stuff that, again, he would act like we were some sort of romantic relationship. He would send text messages to me as if were my boyfriend."

    As it turns out that Morgan Grant was not alone. Across the country, nearly a dozen male figure skating coaches have been suspended by the U.S. Figure Skating Association over the past three years for inappropriate behavior. In fact, the national governing board says it's so concerned, that it's thinking about creating an outside agency to police coaches' behavior.

    Morgan says, "The vast majority are outstanding coaches, but it's like any profession, there are some bad apples. They have an incredible amount of power and they are dealing with young children. There has to be a complete zero tolerance for misconduct with these young people."

    For Morgan, crying out for help wasn't easy. She says, "He had a reputation at the rink that I was skating at, training at, and everyone loved him. And I knew that when it came down to it if it was my word against his, no one would want to believe me."

    Eventually she told her dad.

    After criminal charges, Shretenski entered guilty pleas to misdemeanor charges of child endangerment and third-degree assault.

    The family has since filed a civil suit against Shretenski. Because of that pending lawsuit, Shretenski's lawyer told CNN they had no comment.

    In the end, Morgan Grant decided to drop out of competitive skating. She'll never wear that Team USA jacket. If he were sitting in front of her she says he'd tell him, "How dare you? How dare you take away the one thing that I wanted the most, my entire life, and turn it into something for me to be ashamed of. I did it. You didn't do it, I did it. I accomplished everything that I did, and for him to do this one stupid thing and take everything that I was proud of and turn it into a source of shame is disgusting."

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