by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
Last night we reported that several days ago USA Swimming began a review of its 2005 file on Alex Pussieldi, the latest public entry in its rogues gallery of abusive coaches.
Readers are advised not to believe CEO Chuck Wielgus and the other Colorado Springs apparatchiks when they proceed trying to sell the notion that this investigation arises from a specific new complaint by a member, or was triggered in any way other than their wish to play catch-up with Concussion Inc.s exposure of a decade-long cover-up — which both precedes and postdates the enactment of the organizations Safe Sport program in 2010.
At best, the Pussieldi investigation is Mitch Ivey redux — a hastily arranged, procedurally incoherent toss under the autobus of a prominent figure in the sport, years after everyone in charge at USA Swimming knew full well that the accused was a serial predator who should never be allowed within a pool length of a young athlete.
The sacrifice of Ivey, like the prospective one of Pussieldi accompanied by bursts of due diligence nowhere else evident has everything to do with swimmings PR and lobbying to ward off Congressman George Miller and federal investigations. Pore over internal memos, as these two reporters have been doing, and you will find how low a priority is the plight of past victims or the prevention of future ones.
There are many, many angles of the Pussieldi story left to explore. Lets start with Roberto Caragol, his cohort at the Pine Crest School swim club in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida, from 2006 to 2008. Pine Crest is where Pussieldi plied his wares immediately following his February 2004 resignation from accused Diana Nyad rapist Jack Nelsons Fort Lauderdale Swim Team.
That resignation, in turn, was prompted by Pussieldis brutal poolside and locker room attack on a swimmer who didnt want to be supervised by him in practice. And for good reason: the swimmer had discovered a secret videotaping system in the bathroom of the house from which his parents in Mexico had rented a room for him all the better for soaking up Pussieldis swimming wisdom 24/7.
By 2007, the Fort Lauderdale police and the states attorney, on referral from the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, were investigating not just Nyads allegations against Nelson; not just the Mexican swimmers discovery that he was being spied on when he went to the john or showered; but also a redundantly witnessed stash of Pussieldis videos of his sex with underage boys.
By quietly quitting Nelsons operation (located in the same complex as the International Swimming Hall of Fame, where his and other abusers plaques are on display), Pussieldi could make a smooth transition to Pine Crest. Caragol, who also coached at state boys champion Cypress Bay High School, joined Pine Crest in 2006. Heres the page where Caragol and Pussieldi were listed as co-contacts: http://www.teamunify.com/fgcspcst/__doc__/34242_2_rental%20flyer%202008.pdf.
In 2008, Caragol confessed to FBI investigators that he had traded pornographic images of boys over computer networks and had had sex with minors, dating back to 2001. He primarily coached the 8-to-14 age group at Pine Crest.
Caragol was banned by USA Swimming in 2009. The banned list did not start being published at the USA Swimming website until 2010.
Meanwhile, in August 2008, Pussieldi left Pine Crest and started the Davie Nadadores. He announced his retirement from coaching in July of last year, and said he was pursuing a media career in his native Brazil. However, Florida sources say he has maintained his home in Fort Lauderdale and is planning a reorganization of the Davie operation, which imported and provided housing at the Nova Southeastern University campus to scores of Brazilian and other foreign swimmers.
Next: We begin listing the individuals and institutions who have to answer for Alex Pussieldis 2004-to-present prominence in global swimming.
Complete links to Concussion Inc.s Pussieldi investigation are at http://concussioninc.net/?p=8652.