by Irvin Muchnick
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is expected to sign into law a bill passed by the state legislature that would make it likelier that swimming coaches who commit the kinds of abuses of which Greg Winslow was guilty will be tried for criminal acts.
In February 2013, Concussion Inc. broke the story of the recommendation of the Arizona State University police that Winslow be arrested for molesting his former club swimmer on the ASU campus, Whitney Lopus, beginning when she was 15. By then, Winslow was the head coach at the University of Utah, and Lopus – who had followed him to Utah for one year – was recovering from a spiral that included substance abuse and a suicide attempt.
After the report by Tim Joyce and me, Winslow was suspended by Utah, in the middle of the Pac 12 championship meet, and soon fired. But in Arizona, the Maricopa County prosecutor declined to press criminal charges against Winslow.
The reason was that Lopus, at 15, was at an age when she would have had to affirmatively decline Winslow’s sexual advances, which consisted of kissing and fondling her regularly at various settings principally his office on the ASU campus. In Lopus’s accounts, including interviews for local television news and ESPN, she described herself as freezing during Winslow’s abusive behavior, because, as an Olympic hopeful, she felt he “held the key to my future.”
Since Arizona law didn’t list swim coaches in the category of authority figures (such as school teachers or religious pastors) whose advances are, by default, non-consensual for 15-year-olds, the prosecutor and grand jury’s decision not to indict Winslow was accurate. But the new law, House Bill 2299, would change that. The report on this development by 12 News in Phoenix is at http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/12-news/2015/04/01/12news-bill-closes-sexual-abuse-loophole/70804054/.
For complete links to Concussion Inc.’s series on Greg Winslow – now on USA Swimming’s banned list – go to https://concussioninc.net/?p=8674.