Olympic taekwondo brothers Steven and Jean Lopez are facing renewed allegations of sexual assault, including from a woman who came forward to claim that she was raped by Steven and two of his friends several years ago.
Audrey-Ann LeBlanc told The Daily Beast that she was sexually assaulted by Steven Lopez, along with two of his companions, in 2010 following a regional taekwondo tournament in Dallas, Texas, and alleges that she was drugged after accepting an alcoholic beverage from the three-time Olympic medalist.
“I began to have a feeling that something very bad was going to happen,” she said of the incident, recalling that she was unable to move freely because of what she believes was a spiked drink.
Steven Lopez and at least one of his companions raped her soon after, she alleges, before she woke up in a state of undress in her own hotel room.
Amber Means, a member of the junior USA Taekwondo team, also says that Lopez raped her by using a similar method two years prior.
“It wasn’t an, ‘Ooh, I feel queasy feeling,'” she said, detailing the effects of a drink she was given by Lopez. “‘I was lucid and then it all went dark.“
When she questioned Lopez the next day, she says he told her that they had consensual sex, after which he left and returned to see another man having sex with her. When Means suggested that this was gang-rape, Lopez allegedly told her that she “looked alright” to him.
Mandy Meloon, another former taekwondo participant, also claims that she was molested by Jean Lopez in 2006 when she was 16 years old. She also claims to have been raped by Steven Lopez and says that she was put off from contacting authorities for fear that she wouldn’t be believed, however she says she did inform USA Taekwondo and the US Center for SafeSport.
There are several further such allegations by numerous women.
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In January 2019, an arbitration hearing ruled in favor of Jean Lopez after he had been temporarily banned from coaching after being found by SafeSport to have taken part in a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” involving “younger female athletes“. Steven Lopez had a similar ban expunged a month beforehand.
“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,” SafeSport wrote of Jean Lopez in their 2018 ruling.
Both Lopez brothers have denied the allegations against them.