Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Christopher Knierim with their coaches Eddie Shipstad and Dalilah Sappenfield (right) in San Jose, California. GETTY IMAGES

After adopting temporary measures in 2021 because of misconduct violations that prevented her from having contact with at least a dozen athletes without adult supervision, the United States Center for SafeSport sanctioned the Olympic pairs figure skating coach on Wednesday.

The American disciplinary body issued the ban on its centralized disciplinary database, where it detailed additional violations that included retaliation, proactive policy violation, abuse of process and failure to report a potential SafeSport violation, which is subject to appeal.

SafeSport had already temporarily banned Sappenfield from having contact with a dozen figure skaters and coaching other athletes without another adult’s supervision in 2021, while the organization investigated misconduct allegations against her.

That same year, USA Today published a report detailing the abuse allegations against Sappenfield from 2016 US pairs champion Tarah Kayne, who revealed that the grief she felt over her coach’s verbal abuse, which included sexual comments, led her to cut her left wrist with a razor blade in 2019.

Kayne, who Sappenfield was later prohibited from contacting, told the newspaper that she went to the dorm room of her skating partner, Danny O’Shea, for help and that they both used super glue to hold the wound. “In my head, I thought I was going to die, but I was afraid to go to the hospital because I didn’t want Dalilah to know about any of this,” the figure skater recalled.

“By courageously reporting the details of her trauma, Tarah Kayne’s actions may help other survivors to come forward,” US Figure Skating told USA Today in a statement. “US Figure Skating encourages anyone who has been abused or suspects abuse to report it to local law enforcement, the US Center for SafeSport or US Figure Skating.”

USA Today also revealed another incident involving former US Figure Skating’s senior director Mitch Moyer’s removal of a 16-year-old female Russian pairs skater from Sappenfield’s home in 2020, which is a blatant violation of SafeSport’s rules regarding protection of minors.

A decorated national coach with plenty of international experience, Sappenfeld began her coaching career in 1993 and won the 2008 Professional Skaters Association/US Figure Skating Coach of the Year award. She also worked with three-time US champions Alexa and Chris Knierim, who competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

After her permanent ineligibility was announced, SafeSport CEO Ju’Riese Colon celebrated the ban. “Culture change is happening,” she said in a statement. “Actions that were once tolerated or ignored are no longer accepted, and accountability is taking root. That’s progress but creating long-term culture change requires steadfast commitment by everyone in the sport community to fostering safe environments for athletes to fulfil their potential. Those who cling to toxic tactics will be left behind and on the wrong side of history.”

Despite Safesport’s measures to prevent contact with other athletes, Sappenfield was still allowed to coach at the 2024 US figure skating championships in January, after two-plus years of investigation, USA Today reported.

Five years ago, Sappenfield's former athlete John Coughlin, a two-time national pairs champion, committed suicide after receiving a Safesport suspension due to three allegations of sexual abuse, two of them involving minors, according to USA Today. The now banned-for-life figure skating coach vigorously defended him on social media after his death. He was 33 years old.