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UK hires public relations firm to respond to sex abuse lawsuit involving swim coach

The University of Kentucky has employed a public relations firm that offers “crisis communications” to respond to a lawsuit accusing it of “complicity and deliberate indifference” to sexual abuse allegedly dedicated by former head swim coach Lars Jorgensen.

C2 Strategic Communications, based mostly in Louisville, was retained by the regulation firm of Sturgill, Turner, Barker and Moloney, which is able to symbolize UK within the litigation, the varsity’s government vice chairman, Eric Monday, instructed the Herald-Leader this week in response to a Herald-Leader Open Records Act request.

Monday stated UK presently has no contract with the regulation firm for this specific case. The college has not paid any charges but as a result of the lawsuit is lower than a month previous, he stated.

Sturgill, Turner has expertise coping with Title IX, the federal regulation prohibiting sex discrimination in training, and it has represented UK prior to now, he stated.

UK spokeswoman Kristi Willett declined to say precisely what sorts of public relations companies C2 will present associated to the Jorgensen lawsuit.

“C2 Strategic Communications is working with the university in a consultation role for communications,” Willett stated in a short written assertion.

C2 founder and chief government officer Chad Carlton referred questions on his firm’s project to UK. Carlton is a former Lexington Herald-Leader reporter who later labored as spokesman for Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

On its web site, C2 offers examples of its previous disaster communications work that features crafting a optimistic media message for Treyton Oak Towers, a high-rise Louisville nursing dwelling the place residents have been sickened and killed as COVID-19 swept via in 2020. One employee was placed on house arrest for refusing to self-quarantine after she examined optimistic for the virus.

“C2 Strategic worked closely with the executive team and staff to secure media interviews and place stories that showcased the ‘heroes who work and live’ at Treyton Oak Towers,” the firm says on its web site. “Additionally, C2 created a series of video interviews with members of the Treyton Oak team to highlight their resiliency, dedication and care for residents.”

C2 says it additionally did work throughout the pandemic for Hillcreek Rehabilitation and Care, a Louisville nursing dwelling later shut down by the federal government after inspectors uncovered many severe issues, together with a rodent infestation, filthy residing circumstances and a common lack of take care of the aged and ailing residents.

In a federal lawsuit filed April 12, two former UK swimmers say Jorgensen created a “toxic, sexually hostile environment” inside UK’s swim program by harassing, groping and raping them and a 3rd swimmer on a number of events over a interval of years.

The go well with names UK and Jorgensen as defendants, in addition to UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and former head swim coach Gary Conelly, who initially employed Jorgensen as his affiliate swim coach.

According to the go well with, a number of completely different folks warned UK about Jorgensen’s predatory conduct towards younger lady in his swim applications, beginning the day after UK hired him in 2012, however UK didn’t adequately examine the claims.

Jorgensen quit UK last summer following considerations over NCAA coaching violations. He has denied the sexual abuse allegations contained within the lawsuit. Through his legal professional, Jorgensen stated he and his two accusers — who later grew to become assistant swim coaches at UK — had consensual dating relationships.

Former UK swim coach says he dated his young accusers. If so, was that ethical?

He warned UK about its new swim coach 12 years before a sex abuse lawsuit went public

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