Former Track Olympian Accused of Abuse by 41 Men

Paul Steinbach Headshot

ESPN's "Outside the Lines" program has revealed that a former Olympian who subsequently worked as a track trainer at UCLA allegedly abused dozens of boys and men over a period of five decades.

OTL began investigating a tip that Conrad Montgomery Avondale Mainwaring allegedly had molested a 12-year-old boy in the 1970s and might have continued such activity to the present day. The tip led to a 13-month reporting effort that uncovered scores of allegations ultimately led to a police investigation and Mainwaring's arrest.

Those who have accused Mainwaring, now mostly middle-aged men, were interviewed multiple times each and over hundreds of hours in total. Efforts were made to corroborate their stories, including speaking with family members, friends and spouses they had confided in over the years, as well as reviewing letters, journals, photos, official documents and news articles.

As startling as the sheer number of accusations was, Mainwaring — who rejected repeated interview requests — remained a cipher, a man with almost no public footprint who was able to stay one step ahead of the allegations and the law, according to ESPN.

Writers Mike Kessler and Mark Fainaru-Wada report there are at least 41 men who have accused Mainwaring of abusing them — the youngest being just 12 at the time. The men now range in age from 22 to 59. According to their accounts — 15 on the record — Mainwaring carried out his abuse across two continents and four states, often while employed at prestigious institutions. A handful of the men say they tried to bring Mainwaring to justice in England and the United States, only to be met with shrugs or hindered by statutes of limitations.

The authors continue:

The men told virtually identical stories -- of being charmed, groomed, coached and sexually molested by Mainwaring for weeks, months or years under the auspices of sports training, mental training, spiritual guidance or some combination of the three. They say their coach used his Olympic credentials, coaching achievements, relationships with accomplished athletes and expertise in psychology and physiology to persuade them to train with him, often at no charge. Many said they had little or no previous sexual experience when they met him.

Collectively, they rendered a detailed and consistent picture of a con man so skilled that he often conducted the abuse without his victims even realizing they were used as tools of his perversion.

Many described a Faustian bargain driven by their desire for athletic success, combined with a sense that Mainwaring was truly their friend, their mentor, their guide on a journey toward a better life. In fact, to this day, some of the men report feeling wildly conflicted -- angry and tortured by the abuse yet convinced that some of their achievements would not have been possible without him.

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