As the news continues to unfold about serial sexual abuser Conrad Avondale Mainwaring, the former Olympian and track coach accused of sexually abusing dozens of boys and young athletes at locations across the United States, we are again seeing the stark reality of how dangerous one unchecked predator can be. However, we are also reminded of the power survivors’ voices can have in protecting children.
According to an ESPN report, Mainwaring held positions at Syracuse University in New York, Camp Greylock for Boys in Massachusetts, Colgate University, and Caltech, in addition to being allowed to freely roam Nottingham High School in New York, and the track facilities at UCLA before finally being arrested in June. Mainwaring is alleged to have sexually abused young men and boys, some as young as 12, at every stop he made across America, as well as in his home country of England before that.
So far at least 41 survivors have alleged sexual abuse by Mainwaring across the United States and in England over the span of 44 years. Their stories are strikingly similar: Mainwaring used his Olympic experience and personal charm to win over young, talented, ambitious athletes, who believed the former Olympian could help them achieve their goals of greatness. Instead, unchecked by adults at institutions who welcomed young people and children, Mainwaring was left free to manipulate the boys’ minds and bodies for his own perverse pleasure. He discarded them when he was done and moved on to his next victims in his next location. Mainwaring was finally arrested just weeks ago after decades of sexually abusing boys and young men with virtually no oversight by officials where he worked and was allowed to roam freely with young men and boys. Unfortunately the full scope of Mainwaring’s abuse is not yet known.
In the end, it took the immense courage of a group of survivors, including David O’Boyle who publicly confronted Mainwaring on video, to bring down Mainwaring’s nationwide trail of abuse. The accomplishment of this group must be noted, not only as a reclamation of their own power, but also because by speaking out they have already saved many others from suffering the same abuse they did at the hands of Conrad Mainwaring.