In 2007, Lake Oswego swim coach Don King was accused of multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse of minors. King pled not guilty to the charges and although the jury said that they were bothered by King's actions, they couldn't find him legally guilty of the charges, so he was acquitted.
As part of the accusations and charges against him, King was suspended from his job as swim coach with the Lake Oswego School District. After his acquittal, King attempted to gain reinstatement to his job. On September 22, 2008 the Lake Oswego School Board held a meeting in which a hearing was conducted to consider the reinstatement. At that hearing, Chris Dudley testified as a witness for King:
Chris Dudley – Mr. Dudley has known Mr. King since the mid-1990s when he was at Lewis and Clark and Mr. Dudley was first on the Blazers. Mr. Dudley is currently in wealth management, has a foundation for diabetes, and also serves as a volunteer citizen coach for the LOHS boys basketball team. Mr. Dudley resides in Lake Oswego and has three children—ages 9, 8, and 6—all of whom have been coached by Mr.King. Mr. Dudley noted that Mr. King assisted him when he had to rehab in the pool following an injury when playing for the Blazers. Mr. King assisted Mr. Dudley with water exercises that had therapeutic value, as well as some manipulation of his body. Throughout his 16-year career in the NBA, Mr. Dudley had experience with trainers, therapists, doctors, licensed massage therapists, etc., as well as people who were good in the therapy process but did not possess credentials. He stated that he feels Mr. Kings is knowledgeable about trigger points, muscle structure, tension relief, etc., in massage therapy and acknowledged that the type of physical interaction he experienced from Mr. King would make him uncomfortable in any other context/setting if he was to receive it from anyone other than his wife. Within the context in which Mr. King provided massage therapy to Mr. Dudley, Mr. Dudley indicated that he did not consider it sexual or harassing in nature. He characterized Mr. King as a caring individual and felt valued and cared about at an emotional level. Mr. Dudley’s perception of Mr. King is that he thrives on connection with other people. Mr. Dudley stressed that Mr. King truly cares about his swimmers and strives to ensure that everyone he works with improves. Mr. King coached all of Mr. Dudley’s children, as well as many of their friends. He observed Mr. King having children on his lap, having his hand on the clothed buttocks of children, and pulling children over by hooking a finger on the inside of a bathing suit, as well as other nurturing, emotionally connective interaction with children (boys and girls) of all ages. Mr. Dudley conceded that he would have been uncomfortable observing any coach other than Mr. King perform these actions with his children if he was unfamiliar with the person and/or context.
The Lake Oswego School Board disagreed with Dudley, the Chair doing so in very strong terms:
Chair Lopardo stated that she does not so easily buy into the “grandfatherly” explanation. She noted that information about sexual abuse, touching children inappropriately, etc., has been in the press for probably 20 years, emphasizing that someone involved in working with children should be well aware that these kinds of behaviors are a definite “red flag.” As a School Board member, Chair Lopardo stated that she does not feel she can do anything other than support the administration’s decision to terminate Mr. King’s at-will employment contract and noted that she is not in agreement with the rest of the Board to give further consideration to Mr. King’s usage of the district pool for his private King Swimming program.
King's request to be reinstated to his job as swim coach with the Lake Oswego School District was denied. Unanimously. Later, King admitted to Joel Odom of The Oregonian that he was "handsy" with kids.
About a month later, King abandoned his effort to retain his swim coach credentials with USA Swimming, the body which governs U.S. competitive swimming. He did so after three women came forward alleging King sexually abused them as teenagers.
USA Swimming revoked King's membership saying, "King is permanently banned in any, all, and every respect from being a coach or member of USA Swimming,".
As I read through these articles and the subsequent comments from community members, it's clear that a good number of folks had legitimate concerns about King. Dudley's defense is odd, to say the least. Especially given how elected officials and members of the community, including a jury, had significant worries about King's behavior. Dudley's own parenting instincts seemed to be telling him that something wasn't quite right, based on his testimony to the School Board, yet he still defended King because of the "context". I'm having trouble figuring out what "context" lends appropriateness to slapping young girls on their barely clothed buttocks and physically handling young swimmers in the ways described.
This is simply terrible judgement on Dudley's part. Either that, or he was easily snookered. Neither is especially great prospect.