End-of-Week Thoughts on Long-Running and Unresolved USA Swimming Sex Abuse

Published April 20th, 2012, Uncategorized

In the previous post I reprinted my Beyond Chron column earlier this week on coaches’ sexual misconduct in USA Swimming. That piece followed the publication of my ebook PENN STATE IN THE POOL: The Cover-Up of the USA Swimming Youth Coach Sex Abuse Scandal.

Unless you believe the business of America is business – or maybe more accurately, giving people the business – then you will recognize that this is a story that cannot go away. There are untold dozens of victims across the country, and the same leadership of our Congressionally-created national competitive youth swimming organization remains in place, while doing something between nothing and halfway about the problem.

And spare me your mal mots, please, about lawyers who exploit sensationalism. News flash: It’s one of the most important ways justice gets served in our system, especially in the absence of action by the two other branches of government.

To his credit, USA Swimming board of directors member David Berkoff – an International Swimming Hall of Famer who did much to get this issue the attention prior to his appointment to the board less than two years ago – spoke to me for my Beyond Chron column. But Berkoff left a number of open questions, and I told him so directly, and I told him again yesterday via voicemail, email, and fax.

I’ll take Berkoff’s answers to the following either on or off the air:

1. I do understand your desire to change USA Swimming from within and contain exposure to lawsuits. I guess what confuses me is the abruptness of your reappointment to the board. Please explain how this came about.

2. Your defense of executive director Chuck Wielgus seems to me too aggressive in light of false and misleading public statements USA Swimming has made subsequent to the 20/20 report in 2010. These are documented in my new ebook. A particularly disturbing example is the representations about Peeping Tom coaches’ locker room video, when Wielgus and his team in Colorado Springs knew full well that a coach in Pennsylvania was wanted by the FBI for this very practice.

3. If the goal is to change the culture, Wielgus has to answer the allegations from my earlier Beyond Chron column about blowing off families in Idaho and Colorado who faced local retribution for certain complaints. But Wielgus has not replied to me in any form. Now I ask you about these same allegations (see http://concussioninc.net/?p=5485).

4. In a September 15, 2010, email to Mike Saltzstein, you wrote that there was “no way” you could support Wielgus “being in charge of the decision to investigate a charge of abuse or not.” What is the context here that squares with your stated confidence that Wielgus is capable of righting the ship at USA Swimming?

 

Irv Muchnick

 

To order PENN STATE IN THE POOL: The Cover-Up of the USA Swimming Youth Coach Sex Abuse Scandal by Irvin Muchnick, go to http://amzn.to/JoS53m, or get a plain PDF file by sending $1.49 via PayPal to paypal@muchnick.net.