Alex Pussieldi’s 2012 Incident a Case Study of How USA Swimming and Local Police Work Together to Do As Little As Possible on Sex Abuse Complaints

Published March 12th, 2014, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce

 

The city of Plantation, Florida, yesterday completed its production to Concussion Inc. of public records in connection with a complaint that Alex Pussieldi inappropriately touched a pre-teen or barely-teen swimmer in full public view at a meet at the municipal pool on November 18, 2012.

There are no new records adding anything of substance to the police incident report we published here on March 5.

Cumulatively, the documents paint a picture of “Alphonse and Gaston” passivity by both swim meet host Plantation and USA Swimming. They support the account of J.P. Cote, a Florida parent and volunteer assistant coach.

Cote adamantly maintains that his complaint was handled and dismissed in a slapdash manner, and we agree. He and his wife Carolyn knew nothing about Pussieldi’s long and sordid history in Fort Lauderdale before these reporters recently contacted him about this new incident from just 16 months ago.

At the key moment when the city and the national sport governing body needed to be comparing notes and taking purposeful action, each was waiting for the other to call first. We can only imagine the sighs of relief when they somehow didn’t manage to connect before the detective, Sergeant Robert Mazer, blew off the whole matter after a grand total of two interviews — by telephone! — with possible victim families.

The key missing element in Mazer’s report is how Cote worked with the head coach of the host Plantation Piranhas, Jimmy Parmenter, to generate a list of more than a dozen names who were good candidates to be contacted. (Preferably in person, Mr. Detective, if that’s not too much trouble — the better to tell if one of the kids had the dental braces to which Cote had testified.)

The more comprehensive list started with a review by J.P. and Carolyn of crumpled weekend meet “heat sheets.” When Cote asked Parmenter to print out a fresh and complete set of heat sheets for further study, Parmenter told Cote he could do him one better, and emailed back a refined list from the computer database. This filtered out the names of the male swimmers of the relevant age groups from Pussieldi’s Davie Nadadores team.

Cote then confirmed with USA Swimming’s Liz Hoendervoogt that she could give Sergeant Mazer the contact information for all of those families on request. Cote asked Mazer to call Hoendervoogt, but the file on the quickly closed matter indicates that that never happened.

Coach Parmenter, who began as a helpful agent of the Cotes’ effort to bring Pussieldi to criminal or administrative justice, has clammed up and referred all further queries to the city clerk. The Piranhas are a Plantation-owned team and Parmenter is a city employee. He seems to know which way his Florida oranges get sliced.

Complete links to Concussion Inc.’s Pussieldi investigation are at http://concussioninc.net/?p=8652.