Former Olympian Rich Fellers pleads guilty to sexually abusing a minor
Former Olympian and legendary equestrian Rich Fellers pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually abusing a minor after he was accused of inciting his teenage student into an illegal relationship.
Fellers, 63, pleaded guilty in federal court in Portland, Oregon, to counting interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, local CBS affiliate station KOIN reported .
According to the outlet, as part of a settlement agreement, the former Olympic show jumper and trainer is set to face a four-year prison sentence on the federal charges and a concurrent 30-month sentence on the Washington County charges.
Widely revered in the equestrian community, Fellers was arrested in 2021 for sexually abusing one of his students when she was 17.
The victim, Maggie Kehring, has spoken out publicly about the abuse and has described Fellers as a kind of father figure. At 15, she moved into her own apartment to live near his barn and training center.
She said when she was 16, her coach suddenly expressed feelings for her and began grooming her until they had sex after her 17th birthday, Bloomberg reported last year.
Their relationship lasted until Feller’s wife caught them together in an Airbnb they all shared near a horse show in Michigan, the publication said.
Soon, Fellers and his wife were added to the US Center for SafeSport’s suspension list, established by Congress in 2017 to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct in Olympic sports following the abuse stories of Larry Nassar.
When the abuse became public knowledge, many in the close-knit equestrian community criticized Kehring for banning the beloved trainer and former Olympic star, she told the Chronicle of Horse in a previous interview.
Her attorney said those people owe her an apology — especially now that Fellers has admitted to abusing her.
“For all the horrible people in the equestrian community who have said horrible things about Maggie, I don’t think there is a clearer justification for what she went through [than this]Kehring’s attorney, Russell Prince, told the publication on Wednesday. “There are quite a number of people who sincerely apologize to Maggie Kehring and the Kehring family.”
Kehring herself told the Chronicle that she had no further comment on Fellers’ guilty plea, only that “the public record speaks for itself.”
After Fellers’ arrest, Kehring and her family helped start #WeRideTogether, a social media campaign to raise awareness of sexual misconduct in equestrian sports.