The bronze medalist from the 2014 Sochi Games accuses the chiropractor of molesting her under the guise of medical treatment.
Aja Evans, a former track and field star who became an Olympic bobsled medalist, has filed a lawsuit against a chiropractor who allegedly sexually abused her for years while working with the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. The lawsuit also names the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation as defendants, accusing them of enabling and ignoring the chiropractor’s predatory behavior.
The allegations against the chiropractor
The chiropractor, Jonathan Wilhelm, is accused of repeatedly sexually harassing and assaulting Evans under the pretext of providing athletic medical care. According to the lawsuit, Wilhelm touched and groped Evans’ genitals and body in violation of any medical standards, exposed her to unwanted photography and video recording, and made inappropriate comments about her personal life.
The lawsuit claims that the abuse started in 2012, when Evans first met Wilhelm for a hip injury. It continued until 2022, when Evans was named as an alternate for the USA bobsled team at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. The lawsuit alleges that Wilhelm even molested Evans while she was unconscious in a hospital after a training accident in Germany in 2021.
The response from the defendants
Wilhelm, who has his own practice in Montana called Pro Chiropractic, denies the allegations and says he will defend himself in court. His attorney, Ryan Stevens, said in a statement that Wilhelm “has reputably served and protected professional athletes all over the world” and that he will “pursue all legal avenues to protect his professional reputation.”
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation have not yet commented on the lawsuit. However, the lawsuit alleges that they were aware of Wilhelm’s misconduct and failed to protect Evans and other athletes from him. The lawsuit claims that Evans reported Wilhelm’s abuse to the authorities several times, but was met with indifference, investigation, and degradation.
The impact on Evans’ career and well-being
Evans, who is 33 years old, is a native of Chicago’s south side. She was a standout athlete at the University of Illinois, where she competed in track and field. She switched to bobsled in 2012 and won a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Games with her partner Jamie Greubel Poser. She also competed at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, where she finished fifth.
Evans says that Wilhelm’s abuse has caused her physical and emotional damage, chronic anxiety, and loss of passion for her sport. She says that she filed the lawsuit not only to seek justice for herself, but also to prevent other athletes from suffering at Wilhelm’s hands. She says that she hopes her lawsuit will also hold the USOPC and USA Bobsled accountable for their role in enabling her abuser and neglecting the well-being of their athletes.
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