Former Fishers swim coach files defamation lawsuit after charges dismissed

Lawsuit names Hamilton Southeastern Schools

FISHERS, Ind. - A former Fishers swim coach once accused of stealing $17,000 in pool rental money is now suing for defamation.

Ken Stopkotte was arrested on eight charges of theft in November 2010, and prosecutors dismissed the charges in March 2012, according to the lawsuit.
           
With the help of his attorney Jon Little, Stopkotte filed the lawsuit Jan. 28, naming Hamilton Southeastern Schools and Mel Goldstein of the YMCA as defendants.
           
Stopkotte told Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney the school district and Goldstein falsely accused him, which negatively impacted his life.
           
“It’s been a devastating experience,” said Stopkotte.
           
From 2006 to 2010, Stopkotte served as the swim coach at Fishers High School.
           
He also served as the coach of USA Swimming sanctioned swim club Fishers Area Swim Tigers (FAST).
           
Stopkotte was in charge of renting the Fisher’s High School pool to community groups, including YMCA’s Indy Swim Fit, a program run by Goldstein.
           
Stopkotte spoke to RTV6 in 2009 and ABC’s 20/20 in 2010, blowing the whistle about sexual abuse within the sport of swimming.
           
Stopkotte resigned in August 2010 from FAST and Fishers High School amid allegations he altered times for swim meets.
           
Friday Stopkotte’s attorney Jon Little said what his client did is common practice in the swimming industry.
           
Shortly after the resignation, Stopkotte was arrested on eight counts of theft and spent eight days in solitary confinement.
           
“In fact, he deposited the money where the school had directed him to,” said Little. “They fraudulently reported he stole money from the school district when in fact it was an outright lie.”

Stopkotte now lives in Nashville, Tenn., and runs his own company, in part, because it’s difficult to find work.

USA Swimming banned him for two years and Indiana swimming banned him for five years.

“After what I’ve been through, I don’t want to get back into it,” said Stopkotte. “I've had to undergo thousands of dollars of counseling. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened."

Goldstein was not home when RTV6 stopped by Friday, but Kenney left her business card with a woman who answered the door.

A spokesperson for Hamilton Southeastern Schools told Kenney they have not received notification of the lawsuit, but if they do, will review the allegations and respond in court.

Stopkotte and Little said the school district should pay and apologize.

"I think there was definitely negligence on behalf of the Hamilton Southeastern schools, and there was maliciousness on the part of Hamilton Southeastern Schools,” said Little.

"I think people need to be accountable for telling the truth," said Stopkotte.

USA Swimming and Indiana Swimming did not return phone calls seeking comment on the lawsuit.

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