Former Fox Sports Reporter Heather Hennessy Speaks Out About Alleged Sexual Abuse by High School Track Coach
Heather Hennessy was a high school track star who hoped to make it to the Olympics. Decades later, Hennessy says she's speaking about alleged abuse by her former coach after he was charged in 2019 with sexually abusing minors at another school.
“I remember being terrified,” Hennessy told Inside Edition.
The former Fox Sports reporter says her high school track coach, Chioke Robinson, groomed and sexually abused her for years.
“He was sexually abusing me and forcing relations with me on the track, in the car, on campus. He used his position of power as a coach to access me at school,” Hennessy said.
When asked if Robinson took away her Olympic dreams, Hennessy said, “Yes, this didn't just take my Olympic dreams away from me, this robbed me of a normal life.”
For over two decades Hennessy remained silent. “It lived in me everyday,” she said.
But she says she couldn’t keep quiet any longer after new allegations by others surfaced. Robinson was arrested and charged with 15 felony counts of sex crimes with minors at a different school. He has pleaded not guilty.
“My mind was blown when I saw that...the fact that this has been continuing to happen, that's what pushed me to come forward,” Hennessy said.
Hennessy's allegations about her former coach are part of a recent lawsuit against the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District for negligence, alleging school officials failed to protect her from repeated sexual abuse by Robinson.
“That's one of the main goals of this lawsuit, is to make sure that this doesn't happen to any other 14-year-old girls,” Hennessy’s attorney Stephen Estey said. “What we want to do by bringing this lawsuit is put the shame back where it belongs. It does not belong with Heather. It belongs with the track coach. It belongs especially with the schools who had a duty to protect her from a sexual predator.”
Hennessy is now focused on healing and starting her next race — a race for justice.
“This experience in high school changed the entire trajectory of my life. It took my voice away,” Hennessy said.
Robinson remains out on bail from his 2019 arrest. He adamantly denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
In a statement to Inside Edition, the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District said: “On Thursday, May 6, 2021 we learned that a lawsuit was filed alleging inappropriate conduct between a former employee and a former student from 1999 to 2001. Because we have neither received nor reviewed the suit, we cannot offer any further comment. Our district works hard to provide safe learning environments for our students - this is and shall remain one of our district’s primary goals. The District takes these types of allegations very seriously.”
Robinson’s attorney, Laura Robinson, who has no familial relationship to him, issued the following statement to Inside Edition:
"Chi was surprised and devastated by the allegations and adamantly professes his innocence. He has been a coach and mentor of all ages, genders and backgrounds, and a pillar in the community for almost 20 years. Whenever there is a potential monetary award, it puts claimants’ motives into question. We expect the trial to shed light on his innocence and these false allegations. One must follow the law and the presumption of innocence in order for there to be any fairness and justice."
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