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Sexual abuse dispute settled - DSV pays Jan Hempel 600,000 euros

Jan Hempel, former world-class water diver, during a break at the technical talk. / Photo: Bernd Wüstneck/dpa/archive image
Jan Hempel, former world-class water diver, during a break at the technical talk. / Photo: Bernd Wüstneck/dpa/archive image

Former water diver Jan Hempel and the German Swimming Federation have settled their dispute over compensation for years of sexual abuse. The DSV will pay Hempel 600,000 euros.

The dispute between former water diver Jan Hempel and the German Swimming Association over compensation for years of sexual abuse has been settled. The DSV will pay the 1996 Olympic silver medalist compensation for pain and suffering and damages totaling 600,000 euros.

Hempel's lawyer Thomas Summerer and his manager Oliver Hillebrecht had reached the agreement in lengthy negotiations with the DSV, which was represented by vice presidents Wolfgang Rupieper and Kai Morgenroth. This is according to a statement from Summerer to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur on Monday. Also the DSV communicated that an agreement with Hempel had been reached.

The DSV had appointed an independent processing commission, which recommended a conciliation procedure. This resulted now in a settlement, which guarantees Hempel a fixed payment of 300,000 euros as well as a payment of further 300,000 euros in monthly installments over ten years. This avoided a lawsuit with an uncertain outcome. The amount of this compensation for pain and suffering is unusual in Germany.

"I am very pleased that it has been possible to find an out-of-court solution that combines legal and moral claims. A longer process, possibly over several instances, would have done my client more harm than good," said lawyer Summerer (63).

"For the DSV, it is of central importance to ensure the integrity and safety of our members and athletes. This decision reflects our moral obligation and deep respect for Jan Hempel and all those affected," Vice President Wolfgang Rupieper said in a DSV statement. The reappraisal commission welcomed the amicable arbitration in the case. "We see this as a responsible and integrity step by the sport of swimming to make amends for injustice suffered and understand this as a valuable impetus for our task of shedding light on the cases of abuse in German swimming and from this to develop recommendations for future protection against violence," said Bettina Rulofs and Martin Nolte, who chaired the commission.

Hempel's case had triggered a broad discussion about abuse and violence in German sport and how to deal with it. In a documentary of the ARD under the title "Abused - Sexualized violence in German swimming" Hempel had made public in August 2022 for the first time the allegations of sexual abuse against his longtime coach Werner Langer, who died in 2001. According to the film, Langer allegedly committed sexual abuse against the 1996 Atlanta Olympic silver medalist from 1982 to 1996. In the film, Hempel accused the DSV of knowing about the allegations as early as 1997 but not doing anything decisive.

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