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Report: Penn State Fencing Head Coach Failed to Report Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Assistant

by on May 17, 2019 1:00 PM

Penn State fencing head coach Wes Glon allegedly didn’t report the sexual misconduct allegations against former assistant coach George Abashidze when he first heard about them in early 2018, according to Philly.com.

North Carolina fencing coach Jennifer Oldham accused Abashidze of groping and sexually harassing her on a plane. She said Glon found her accusations “difficult to believe” when Ed Korfanty, a saber coach for the U.S. National Women’s fencing team, first brought them to Penn State’s head coach in January 2018.

Abashidze and Oldham were sitting next to each other on a red-eye flight from Portland to Chicago on December 11, 2017 following a fencing competition. Lewis Vaden, a fencing supply company vendor from New Jersey, was sitting next to them and thought Abashidze was inebriated before getting on the plane.

The former Penn State assistant coach bought himself and Oldham drinks and began making comments of a sexual nature. Oldham said the former Penn State assistant “became more aggressive,” touching her arm, knee, and upper leg before asking her to have sex and grabbing her crotch.

“The part that I felt was crossing the line completely was when he wasn’t just asking me to have sex,” Oldham said in an interview with Philly.com. “He was insisting on having sex, begging me to have sex, creating and visualizing different ways we could have sex, and [saying] he was going to die if we couldn’t have sex.”

Oldham reportedly met with Glon in February 2018 and brought a written description of what happened, but the head coach concluded they were just “talking and flirting on the plane, then had drinks and fell asleep.” During that meeting, Glon allegedly said he didn’t plan on bringing her allegations to the university. They met again at the fencing national championships in April 2018, and Glon told Oldham that no one would believe her allegations there, according to the report.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport, which was formed by the United States’ Olympic Committee to combat all forms of abuse in sports, investigated the incident. Penn State internally investigated the matter in June 2018 after Oldham’s husband reported the incident in an email to Sandy Barbour. Oldham and her lawyer filed a formal complaint to Penn State about the way Glon handled the incident, and they’re also considering legal action.

A Penn State spokesman told Philly.com that the complaint against Glon was investigated, but that university policy prevented disclosing any steps that were taken afterward.

Abashidze’s U.S. Fencing membership was suspended on August 1 as a result of the SafeSport investigation. He was placed on administrative leave by the university in September 2018. Penn State listed a job posting for an assistant fencing coach on March 29 and removed his name from the fencing team’s coaching staff directory.

 



Mikey Mandarino is a staff writer for Onward State.
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