Julie Lynn Kindstrand Nelson was 14 when she first met Neal Hendrix in 2006. She was a talented amateur skater, and he was an X Games medalist. Kindstrand Nelson, who goes by Julz Lynn, said she idolized Hendrix from the start. He was a famous skater since his X Games days, and took jobs as an executive committee member of USA Skateboarding, an exec at Camp Woodward, and a sought-after skating broadcaster. Kindstrand Nelson befriended Hendrix when her grandparents had just died, and she said she was looking for skateboarding advice, as well as affection. That was where the trouble started.
According to a six-page letter Kindstrand Nelson wrote to the Costa Mesa Police Department on Oct. 11, Hendrix, who was 33 at the time, began grooming her for a sexual relationship. The letter is not a legal document, but rather he own story, in her own words. A few months before she turned 15, Kindstrand Nelson said that she would sneak out of Sunday school to call Hendrix, who would pick her up and drive her back to his apartment for “sex lessons.” He would show her “pictures of young girls he was masturbating to,” and then have her perform sex acts on him, some of which she says were physically coercive:
Lessons on blow jobs consisted of the way to look up at him as he held the back of my head, even if I couldn’t breathe. I had to keep going until choking on Neals’ penis with it down the back of my throat. Neal would have me say and do the sex acts he taught to help him “get off” before taking me back to the church parking lot, dropping me off in the same location he had picked me up from.
Hendrix told the Wall Street Journal that the claims were “100% false.” Kindstrand Nelson had suicidal thoughts, and after she stopped seeing Hendrix in 2008, she said several pros stopped talking to her or working with her. As a professional, she had to compete at many events where Hendrix was working as a commentator, and she said he made a few more passes at her as the years went on. The 25-year-old finally decided to speak out after she said she saw Hendrix inappropriately touching young girls at an event in Idaho this year.
“I wanted to make sure that everybody in the skateboarding community is aware of what’s going on,” Kindstrand Nelson told espnW. “For so long, so many people turned a blind eye.”
Since the accusations surfaced last night, Hendrix has been placed on suspension by both USA Skateboarding and Camp Woodward, per espnW. No charges have yet been filed, though the Costa Mesa PD is actively investigating the allegations.
Hendrix, now 45, works for Camp Woodward as a worldwide brand manager, and he was a key figure in getting skateboarding added to the 2020 Olympics. He has worked for USA Skateboarding for years and has also served as a commentator on televised skateboarding competitions for ESPN and other media outlets. When he met Kindstrand Nelson, he was near the peak of his fame as an X Games champion in vert skating.
Kindstrand Nelson sent her letter to the police, the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and SafeSport, the USOC’s anti-child abuse arm. “My experience with Neal was very traumatic,” Kindstrand Nelson told espnW. “It has taken me several years to process what happened to me and many more years to find the courage to stand up and say something. I hope that other young girls who dream of being competitive athletes do not suffer the same fate.”
The full letter can be read below.