Taekwondo coach Jean Lopez's ban lifted in sexual misconduct case

DENVER -- An arbitration panel has ruled in favor of taekwondo coach Jean Lopez, meaning his name has been removed from the U.S. Center for SafeSport's sanctioned list and he is free to resume coaching without restriction.

Lopez was declared permanently ineligible in April for sexual misconduct involving three women. The ban was lifted and replaced by a temporary sanction in August pending the arbitration hearing, which was held Dec. 27.

Lopez's attorney, Howard Jacobs, said Tuesday that arbitrators ruled unanimously in favor of Lopez. His name was removed from the list later in the day.

The decision is the third to be overturned in the 22-month history of the SafeSport Center. It comes four weeks after Lopez's brother, Olympic champion Steven Lopez, had his sanction lifted after winning arbitration.

Victim lawyer Steve Estey said two of his clients stand by claims that Jean Lopez raped them.

Estey said the decision was handed down with no explanation and called it "yet another example of the failure by SafeSport to protect athletes from sexual abuse."