by Irvin Muchnick
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of talking in depth with Danielle Bostick, one of the many victims of USA Swimming sexual abuse who refuse to allow their molesters to define their lives by victimhood.
“I cannot go back and have a normal childhood, but in confronting the truth about my shattered childhood, I feel whole,” Dani says in the mission statement of her powerful website, http://danibostick.com. “In choosing to share my experience, my burden is lighter because I am not alone.”
I highly recommend the articles at the site, especially her piece last fall for the Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/11/13/27365/.
From the orientation of Concussion Inc.’s investigations, the greatest importance of Dani Bostick’s story is that she was abused in the 1980s and in Montgomery County, Maryland. That was the same decade when and the same region (near D.C.) where insiders long knew Olympic hopeful Kelley Davies was being raped by the nationally prominent coach Rick Curl. The quarter-century Curl cover-up finally crumbled in 2012. The publicity surrounding that case motivated now-retired Congressman George Miller of California to set in motion federal government investigations of amateur sports sex abuse, which include an imminent Government Accountability Office report.
The less-noticeable effect of the Curl case was that, by coming forward, Kelley Davies – now Kelley Currin – paved the way for others, including Dani Bostick. Last year her coach, Chris Huott, was permanently banned by USA Swimming for what he had done to Dani, beginning 30 years earlier. Curl and Huott are now doing time in the same Maryland prison.
Where I part with USA Swimming and its parent U.S. Olympic Committee is on the question of whether specific and tardy bans of obscure coaches are good for much more than public relations. The newly announced Center for Safe Sport, hyped as a model of accountability and oversight, is nothing of the sort. It is run by the same gang that defaulted for decades on the emotional and physical safety of youth athletes – principally girls mid-teens or younger. (Huott’s abuse of Bostick began when she was as young as seven. So much for the theory that this problem only arises when adult hormones interact with nubile adolescents.)
The chief of the parallel performance-enhancing drug police, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, is a graduate of the sex-abuse cover-up mafia at swimming’s Bryan Cave law firm. As we have reported, Tygart, while a young attorney at the firm, helped coordinate the dead-end administrative prosecutions of numerous abusive coaches. One of them was Danny Chocron, who plied his wares at Tygart’s prep alma mater in Jacksonville, the Bolles School, and is believed to be still coaching in his native Venezuela. See https://concussioninc.net/?p=9441.
USA Swimming chief executive Chuck Wielgus – whose scheduled induction into the International Hall of Fame last year became a casualty of the shame heaped on him and the organization by its legacy abuse victims – wishes the media and the public would consider the global abuse/cover-up issue closed and resolved. And so far he and the other overpaid moguls of the billion-dollar Olympics industry have been far too successful in that quest. What Dani Bostick and her generation remind us is that resting now would be both an injustice to survivors and an invitation for the same sick culture and structure to prey on future generations.