ASCA Boss John Leonard ‘Categorically Denies’ Sarah Ehekircher’s Sexual Harassment Allegations; Captive Swimming Industry Publication’s Article Also Smears Ehekircher and Concussion Inc.

Published March 7th, 2018, Uncategorized

PREVIOUSLY:

“Sarah, Ehekircher, Long-Time Coach, Tells of Her Youth Grooming and Abuse by Scott MacFarland, Her ‘Revictimization’ by USA Swimming’s 2010 Investigation, and Her Sexual Harassment by American Swimming Coaches Association Boss John Leonard,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=12656

“Sarah Ehekircher Describes the American Swimming Coaches Association’s John Leonard As the Boss From Hell — And a Creep and Sex Harasser to Boot,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=12666

“It’s Time to Fix Sports’ Sexual-Abuse Culture — for Good” (Outside magazine), https://www.outsideonline.com/2285936/lets-fix-good

“Should USA Swimming Go Down?” (Outside magazine), https://www.outsideonline.com/1927681/should-usa-swimming-go-down

“Why Is George Gibney — No. 1 At-Large Pedophile in Global Sports — Living in Florida? And Who Sponsored His Green Card?” Complete headline links: http://concussioninc.net/?p=10942

“American Swimming Coaches Association Board Member Says Executive Director John Leonard Will Be Pressed on Whether ASCA Helped George Gibney’s 1992 U.S. Visa,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=12631

 

by Irvin Muchnick

 

John Leonard did not respond directly to our article today with Sarah Ehekircher’s story of Leonard’s sexual harassment and overall weirdness during her job interview and ultimate brief employment at the American Swimming Coaches Association in 2004.

Leonard did, however, orchestrate a campaign to smear both Ehekircher and this reporter in his denial of the allegations just published at SwimVortex, a kind of State TV for the sport. See “ASCA Director Leonard Says Ehekircher Allegations ‘Categorically Untrue’,” https://www.swimvortex.com/asca-director-leonard-says-ehekircher-allegations-categorically-untrue/.

Two significant points immediately emerge.

The first is that Leonard, in SwimVortex, speaks in substantially more specific terms than anything previously in the record regarding ASCA’s support or non-support of George Gibney when he relocated from Ireland to the United States in the 1990s. Leonard says ASCA did have occasion to deal with Gibney and the legal and moral issues surrounding him, and insists the organization unfailingly did the right thing.

 

“Documents show that Leonard did indeed supply damning evidence to the potential employer, that Gibney was not employed as a result and that the Irishman took serious offence with ASCA when he found out.

Gibney contacted ASCA, after failing to get a job at a program in Colorado, to tell them they had ‘no legal basis’ to provide the material charting the very serious allegations against him in Ireland. Leonard’s response was ‘go ahead and sue me’, on the grounds that even if he had escaped Irish justice on ‘some technicality as his lawyer indicated’, there was serious doubt as to whether any American court would find against those seeking to warn a club employing children of the nature of allegations against a coach seeking a job.”

 

Concussion Inc. will be returning to this theme — including the clipped statements Leonard made in a 2012 deposition in a case against USA Swimming by a victim of coach abuse; and the failure of ASCA early nineties employee Peter Banks, a former assistant coach under Gibney in Ireland, to answer queries from us regarding any possible role Banks might have had in what federal judge Charles R. Breyer called the suspicion that ASCA “greased the wheels for Gibney’s relocation.” Banks himself has gone from Ireland to the U.S. to Ireland and now back to the U.S., where he’s on the coaching staff for Pipeline Swimming in the Tampa area.

A member of the ASCA board of directors, Jim Richardson, has told us that he intends to press Leonard for an account of the Gibney matter at the board meeting next month.

The second takeaway from the SwimVortex article is its perpetuation of a published error regarding my recently settled Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for materials from Gibney’s American immigration files. The error is from last weekend’s article on Gibney in the Irish Times.

As I wrote Saturday in my review of the article, author Johnny Watterson, a Times sports columnist, was mistaken in characterizing the FOIA case as an  “exhaustion” of efforts “to have [Gibney] deported.” In the Watterson piece’s second reference to the case, he got it right, noting that Judge Breyer “was passing judgment on what documents should be released to Muchnick — not how Homeland Security should act.”

On Sunday, Watterson contacted me to apologize for the error. I am respecting Watterson’s request not to publish the text of his email to me.