EXCLUSIVE: USA Swimming’s Secret International List of Youth Swimming Figures With Abuse Allegations Who Are Not Officially Banned

Published May 17th, 2012, Uncategorized

In 2010, and in the wake of an investigation by ABC’s 20/20, International Swimming Hall of Famer David Berkoff painstakingly compiled a list of swimming coaches and other figures in the sport, throughout the world, who were accused of sex abuse and other misconduct. Berkoff included cites to the  publication of these allegations. During the same period, he was appointed to the board of directors of USA Swimming.

This year, in a lawsuit by swimmer Jancy Thompson, Berkoff’s list became a public record. I am now publishing that list; it can be downloaded at http://muchnick.net/berkofflist.pdf.

In publishing the Berkoff list, I am motivated by the goal of further and redundantly documenting cases of youth coach sex abuse. This publicity could help prevent future victims, such as those of coaches Christopher Johnson in Tennessee and Kenneth Fuller in Pennsylvania, which were reported in the earlier item today on this blog.

In his deposition in the Thompson case, Berkoff said he had emailed his list to Susan Woessner, USA Swimming’s director of safe sport. Berkoff testified that he did not have further communication with Woessner about this matter, and he did not know how she and USA Swimming had proceeded to use his list.

Neither Berkoff, Woessner, nor USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus has responded to my recent voicemail, email, or fax messages.

Some further notes:

  • At the top of the document, Berkoff explains that his list is broken down into five categories. Only one of those categories is USA Swimming’s official banned list, which can be viewed at http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=1963&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en&mid=10011&ItemId=5107. There are now 63 names on the banned list, which was last updated yesterday. Neither Johnson nor Fuller is yet on the list.
  • Two years ago former Olympian Deena Deardurff Schmidt told 20/20 and others that she had been abused, beginning at age 11, by a Hall of Fame coach. With Berkoff’s list, we now can identify that coach: Paul Bergen.
  • The U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials will be held in Omaha, home of major long-time USA Swimming sponsor Mutual of Omaha, June 25 through July 2.

 

Irv Muchnick

 

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS BLOG:

 

‘Whatever Happened to the USA Swimming Youth Coach Sex Abuse Scandal?’ (full text)

Published March 30th, 2012
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