Neal Hendrix, a USA Skateboarding executive member and a force behind the sport’s entry in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is on interim suspension pending a police investigation into allegations of improper sexual contact with a skateboarder when she was 14.
Julie Lynn Kindstrand Nelson, a professional skateboarder known as “Julz Lynn,” made the accusations in a six-page letter provided to the Costa Mesa (Calif.) Police Department.
No charges have been filed. A Costa Mesa Police Department official confirmed to ESPN that an investigation is underway. Hendrix, 45, declined to comment to ESPN.
“USA Skateboarding is fully cooperating with the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s investigation on the allegations placed upon Neal Hendrix,” USA Skateboarding Chairman Gary Ream told ESPN. “The safety of the athletes, staff and board members is our number one priority, and we support SafeSport’s decision of an interim suspension while the investigation is being conducted.”
USA Skateboarding is the sport’s governing body under the USOC; the Center for SafeSport is a nonprofit organization that provides education, resources and training to promote respect and prevent abuse in sports.
In the letter, which was also provided to ESPN’s Alyssa Roenigk, Kindstrand Nelson alleged that, when she was between the ages of 14 and 15 and Hendrix was in his early 30s, she performed sex acts on him at his request. Kindstrand Nelson also alleged in the letter that Hendrix masturbated in front of her, photographed and took videos of her while she was naked and showed her pornography involving underage girls. Hendrix, who was her mentor, brought her to his apartment for what he called “sex lessons” after meeting her at a California skatepark in 2006, she wrote in the letter.
Kindstrand Nelson, 25, told ESPN that she also provided the letter to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“I wanted to make sure that everybody in the skateboarding community is aware of what’s going on,” she said. “For so long, so many people turned a blind eye.”
Hendrix is a former pro skateboarder who won X Games medals in vert skateboarding in the late 1990s and early 2000s and now is brand manager for Camp Woodward, an action sports and gymnastics company. He has worked as a broadcast commentator for NBC, ESPN, CBS and Red Bull.
“My experience with Neal was very traumatic,” Kindstrand Nelson told ESPN. “It has taken me several years to process what happened to me and many more years to find the courage to stand up and say something. I hope that other young girls who dream of being competitive athletes do not suffer the same fate.
“As young athletes, girls are very susceptible to sexual predators.”
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