Christopher Huott, Laurel swim coach, arrested for child abuse
LAUREL, Md. (WJLA) - Fifty-two-year-old Christopher Huott is a popular swim coach in the Laurel area.
The owner and founder of the Maryland Suburban Swim Club, he rents a lane here at the Fairland Aquatic Center to coach his students. So parents whose children swim here were hit hard by the news Huott had been arrested.
"It's very disheartening, very disheartening that you can't trust an adult such as a coach," said LaJuan Watson.
Montgomery County Police say that last month, a young woman he had coached told police that Huott had engaged her in sex acts numerous times while she was a minor. To the parents whose children he also coached, the accusations are stunning.
"It's just shocking...my daughter swam with him in middle school [and] I know some people still involved and it's really sad," said Donna Fenicle.
On his website, Huott says his swim club dates back to 1986, and because of his access to so many children, investigators are concerned there may be more victims out there.
"To entrust your kids in the hands of people you think are responsible, and then at the end of the day you find out they are not as responsible as you thought...it's very discouraging," said Constance Achu.
But for most of the parents here, their thoughts are with the alleged victim:
"I hope the little girl's okay, and I hope they find justice," said Dee.
"My heart breaks for whomever is involved with this...I hope it gives more girls courage to speak up," added Donna.
On Friday, Huott’s coaching profile was stripped from the club's website. And while its members aren't talking, Chief Richard McLaughlin of the Laurel Police Department explained:
"You have to be realistic...there is potential for other possible victims that haven't come forward at this point."
Huott has coached dozens of kids over the last three summers, and police worry because of court documents alleging that Huott began abusing a seven-year-old girl back in 1984. Those attacks are said to have continued up until 1989, when that girl turned 12.
In those five years, Huott – the victim’s “swim coach” and “babysitter” – reportedly molested the girl at her residence in Montgomery County while she was “sleeping” and “showering.”
Neighbor Cathy Inkeles lives two doors from Huott’s half-million dollar townhomes, and she said:
"I'm shocked -- he was just a normal, everyday guy."
No one answered Huott’s door on Friday, but inside his Volvo Sedan, there was swim team paperwork for children as young as 13 years old.
"For these things to come out, it's definitely a bit of a surprise and kind of creates a doubt in your mind about who are your neighbors," said neighbor Chris Hsu.