Swim coach feels 'he has a new lease on life'

Clackamas County prosecutors this week dropped misdemeanor sex abuse charges against longtime Lake Oswego swim coach Don King.

'He feels he has a new lease on life,' said King's attorney Richard Cohen. 'He feels grateful and renewed.'

Cohen said King has 'always denied touching any child with a sexual purpose. No evidence ever depicted him touching any explicitly sexual part of any child.'

The dropped charges were two counts of third-degee sexual abuse.

Late last month, King, 66, was acquitted on charges that he had sexually abused junior-high school girl swimmers in Linn County.

King was indicted in July in Linn County on six counts of sex abuse. Five of the counts were for felony sex abuse. He was acquitted on all counts.

The allegations involve girl swimmers with King Swimming Club of Lake Oswego. The independent club held its practices at the Lake Oswego School District's pool.

King served as Lake Oswego High School swim coach and operated a private team called King Swimming.

The Linn County charges stem from incidents during a swim meet in Albany in June. An off-duty Albany detective videotaped King committing the alleged sexual abuse after being tipped off by the parent of a swimmer.

Although King was acquitted in Linn County and the charges dropped in Clackamas County, the Lake Oswego School District is investigating whether King should be reinstated or let go as a coach.

Superintendent Bill Korach said Thursday that the district is continuing to conduct its own inquiry about the sexual abuse allegations.

'Our determination will be made based on the evidence we have,' he said, referring to evidence from the Linn County trial last month and from a Lake Oswego Police Department investigations into alleged sexual abuse of girl swimmers under 18.

'We have standards, in terms of what we expect from adults in positions of authority who are responsible the safety and well being of our kids,' Korach said.

King is on paid administrative leave from the school district.

Korach said he expects the investigation to wrap up around mid-April.

Cohen said the evidence did not support the prosecutors' claims in either counties.

'This case was much more about what was in the heads of the detectives than what was in the mind of my client,' said Cohen. 'The case was about the gray area that lies between an extraordinarily nurturing older adult male and sexual abuse. My client has always denied touching [the swimmers] with any sexual intent.'

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