U.S. Center for SafeSport suspends figure skating coach Ross Miner for sexual harassment

Ross Miner, a U.S. figure skating coach and retired skater who won the silver medal in the men’s competition at the 2018 U.S. national championships, was suspended for six months by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for sexual harassment Tuesday evening, according to SafeSport’s and U.S. Figure Skating's websites.

Miner, 30, who is coaching in the Boston area, did not return an email or a text message from USA TODAY Sports seeking comment. He also did not answer a call to his cell phone. No specific details about the sexual harassment were immediately available.

According to the USFS website, the six-month suspension prohibits Miner from participating in any capacity in any event, program, activity or competition authorized by, organized by or under the auspices of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the national governing bodies recognized by the USOPC, a local affiliated organization, any high-performance management organization or a facility under their jurisdiction.

Ross Miner poses with his silver medal after the men's free skate program during the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. (Photo: Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports)

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Miner rose through the ranks in U.S. figure skating over nearly a decade, competing in two world championships, finishing 11th in 2011 and 14th in 2013. At the U.S. nationals, he finished third, third and second from 2011-2013, then second again in 2018 at the nationals, which doubled that year as the U.S. Olympic trials.

But Miner did not compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Due to USFS rules that consider the skaters’ results and body of work over the previous year, Miner was replaced by fourth-place finisher Adam Rippon, who went on to become one of the breakout stars of those Games.

Miner’s suspension is just the latest in a startling series of sexual harassment and sexual abuse allegations and suspensions that have rocked figure skating over the past 2 ½ years.

Two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin, 33, died by suicide Jan. 18, 2019, one day after he received an interim suspension from SafeSport. USA TODAY Sports has reported that there were three reports of sexual abuse against Coughlin, two of them involving minors. Coughlin’s death effectively ended the investigation into those reports, SafeSport announced at the time.

Three-time U.S. women’s champion and 2014 Olympic team bronze medalist Ashley Wagner told USA TODAY Sports on Aug. 1, 2019, that Coughlin sexually assaulted her in June 2008, when she was 17 and he was 22. Her case is separate from those three reports.

John Zimmerman, an Olympic pairs coach, 2002 U.S. Olympian and member of the USFS Hall of Fame, was suspended for two years in March after being accused of failing to report and covering up the alleged 2017 sexual abuse of a 13-year-old female skater he coached, and allegedly shaming and threatening the girl after he found out about the incident.

Not long after Coughlin’s death, SafeSport delivered a chilling assessment of sexual abuse in figure skating, saying it discovered “a culture in figure skating that allowed grooming and abuse to go unchecked for too long.”

In January 2020, USFS executive director David Raith told USA TODAY Sports, “We don’t agree with their statement.”  

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