by Irvin Muchnick
As we’ve just reported, the group of USA Swimming sexual abuse victims who successfully petitioned the International Swimming Hall of Fame to cancel its induction of swimming chief executive Chuck Wielgus have upped the ante in a follow-up petition that calls for Wielgus’s resignation, his criminal indictment, and Congressional intervention.
(The Women’s Sports Foundation and its senior director of advocacy, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, helped organize the first petition but are not directly involved in this one.)
Criminal prosecution of Wielgus and other top swimming officials has long been advocated by Concussion Inc. There are multiple points of entry for investigators, but perhaps the starkest evidence is the perjury by Wielgus in a May 10, 2010, deposition for Indiana state court.
In 1998, John Trites, a coach in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, went on the lam upon learning that he was about to be arrested for multiple sex crimes. One of those crimes was his surreptitious videotaping of his underage female swimmers disrobing in the dressing room. Trites is still at large.
After Trites vanished, his case was featured on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s television program America’s Most Wanted. At the FBI’s behest, Wielgus directed a national alert to aquatic facilities to be on the lookout for Trites.
In his 2010 deposition – for a case brought by swimmer Brooke Talfinger regarding, among other abuses, the precise same Peeping Tom videotaping practices of her coach Brian Hindson — Wielgus denied knowledge of the issue. He said it was “not even on the radar screen” until 2008.
It doesn’t help whatever flimsy defense Wielgus and his minions might put up that clandestine videotaping by coaches was also “on the radar screen” in 2004 – the year, as we have exposed, Fort Lauderdale swimmer Roberto Cabrera Paredes made the same charge against coach Alex Pussieldi. (And no matter what generic denials Pussieldi might have proferred, we know that he admitted this crime to the family of Kaley Lucas, the girlfriend of swimmer Leonardo Hobi Martins.)
There are other examples of perjury by Wielgus. There are also other examples by former USA Swimming board president Dale Neuburger and others.
In addition, federal investigators need to get to the bottom of the story of USA Swimming headquarters hacking of the computers of the organization’s critics, which we reported yesterday.
Complete links to Concussion Inc.’s coverage of the petition drive that forced the withdrawal of the Chuck Wielgus induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame are at “Chuck Wielgus Belongs in the Hall of Justice, Not the Hall of Fame,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=9233.
The cover story in South Florida’s New Times, “An Underage Sex Scandal Leads to South Florida’s Swimming Hall of Fame,” is at http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2014-06-05/news/sex-scandal-swimming-hall-of-fame-fort-lauderdale/.