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Her Tennis Coach Abused Her. Could the Sport Have Prevented It?

Standing in her pajamas in front of the door of her hotel room, she was terrified as Haultain entered. She had been watching her favorite movie, “The Sound of Music.” She knew what he was going to do and felt powerless to stop it. Then, she detailed to prosecutors and in her lawsuit, he penetrated her with his hands.

The next day, she could barely get a ball over the net during the tournament. He berated her and told her to move on from what had happened.

She returned to San Diego broken. Days later, back in Kansas City, unable to sleep or eat or do schoolwork and dreading an upcoming trip with Haultain to a tournament in Portugal, Jensen answered yes when her oldest sister asked if her coach had abused her. Her sister then told her parents.

Jensen immediately stopped training with Haultain. Her parents encouraged her to keep playing, to not let Haultain steal her love for the game. They were not aware of the full extent of the abuse because they had not pressed her for details. So they tried to minimize the trauma by dealing with it privately, she said.

Fred Jensen now realizes what a terrible mistake that was, for his daughter and for the safety of other children. His instinct told him to protect his daughter’s anonymity, to try to, in his words, “coach her through it,” “engineer her return to normalcy” and save her from the blame and victimization that so many survivors of sexual assault experience. That was the exact opposite of what his daughter needed, which was disclosure, the involvement of the police and, ultimately, justice.

“Predators count on that you are not going to pursue something like this,” he said.

In the summer of 2010, however, Jensen told a teacher what Haultain had done to her. The teacher was obligated to inform the police, and he did.

Jensen understands now that Haultain essentially brainwashed her, that he was very good at getting what he wanted, as so many predators are.

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