Fencing organization, coach sued over alleged sex abuse

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal lawsuit says USA Fencing, the national governing body for the sport, failed to protect a Tennessee teenager from sexual abuse over a two-year period.

The girl and her parents filed suit last month against the Colorado-based organization as well as her former coach, Robert Piraino, and the Nashville business he owned and ran, Music City Fencing Club.

Piraino, 38, was indicted last year by a grand jury on 108 counts of alleged sex crimes involving the girl, authorities have said. He is currently lodged at a Nashville jail.

The lawsuit, first reported by Tennessee Lookout, says Piraino, a prominent USA Fencing member coach, began pressuring the girl for photos when she was 13 and offered financial compensation when she was reluctant to send them.

In response to the increasing pressure, the girl "sent Piraino dozens of photos of herself naked or semi-naked in sexually suggestive positions," the lawsuit said.