Sarah Ehekircher, Who Just Got Scott MacFarland Booted From Swimming 30+ Years After He Groomed and Abused Her, Is Talking With Congressional Investigators About the Bigger Picture

Published May 13th, 2018, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

Sarah Ehekircher, whose story of her grooming and abuse by Scott MacFarland, her teen swimming coach in Colorado, was championed by Concussion Inc. beginning two months ago, is now talking to investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is probing USA Swimming and other U.S. Olympic Committee national sport governing bodies.

Ehekircher hasn’t yet “won” her fight. Yes, the U.S. Center for SafeSport did take up an investigation of the ball that was dropped by USA Swimming and its 2010 National Board of Review hearing of her allegations against MacFarland back at the start of the so-called safe sport era. But instead of committing to a review of organized swimming’s bad work in this matter, the center propounded only a single count against MacFarland for “bringing disrepute” to “the Corporation.”

Still, you can’t minimize what Ehekircher has accomplished. Magnolia Aquatic Club in Texas finally ousted the now-”retired” MacFarland. And as coach-blogger Chris DeSantis and the swimming news site SwimSwam have reported, another Magnolia coach, Michael McCorvy, just got banned for life by the SafeSport Center on unrelated allegations. The coverage of DeSantis, at http://chrisdcoach.com/blog/2018/5/11/who-are-we-protecting, is especially illuminating.

Ehekircher doesn’t yet want to share publicly all the details of what she is telling Congressional staffers, and understandably so. But she did confirm to us a conference call last week of more than an hour’s duration with Energy and Commerce staffers who have expressed keen interest in more than just MacFarland’s technical failures in watch his p’s and q’s. Ehekircher is a figure with longstanding and deep connections in the sport — remember, she was also sexually harassed during a stint on the staff of chickenhawk John Leonard’s American Swimming Coaches Association.

Ehekircher said her discussions with the investigators have focused on

  • The case itself against MacFarland (even as a standalone anecdote, it its chilling) and USA Swimming’s kangaroo court hearing.
  • What’s right and what remains very wrong about the U.S. Center’s follow-up. The non-transparency is especially disturbing; the transcript of the 2010 has still not been shared on the spurious grounds that it is protected by a “confidentiality agreement” — as asserted by only one of the two parties to it.
  • Broader thoughts on Amateur Sports Act reform. These include the jurisdiction of national sport governing bodies, which are anything but. In the current regime even banned coaches can turn up at rec programs and YMCA’s, and youth athletes and their families are none the wiser.

Finally, there is a larger narrative surrounding Scott MacFarland and his connections to the top practitioners of the culture of abuse in swimming across decades. The facts are still forming on this explosive element of Ehekircher’s knowledge base, and we’ll be following it.

 

THE FULL SERIES

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

Published March 6th, 2018

Houston Chronicle to Cover U.S. Center for SafeSport’s Reopening of USA Swimming’s Investigation of Sarah Ehekircher’s Grooming-Abuse Allegations Against Coach James Scott MacFarland

Published March 25th, 2018