by Irvin Muchnick
We haven’t yet mentioned Scott Volkers, the former Australian national women’s coach who was accused of molesting three youth swimmers in his charge.
An alert reader tipped us that this past weekend Volkers was on the deck at the George F. Haines International Aquatic Center in Santa Clara, home of a stop in the Arena Pro Swim Series. Volkers was there with his Fiat-Minas team from Brazil, where he has been coaching since 2011, shortly after the loss of his certification to work with children in Australia. But in the swimming world, bad reputations and sanctions easily leap provincial borders, and positively laugh in the face of transnational ones.
Volkers’ Australian accusers have names: Julie Gilbert, Kylie Rogers, Simone Boyce. All three addressed a royal investigative commission last year. All were between 12 and 14 when they say Volkers, now 47, abused them.
At the royal commission hearing, the director of public prosecutions in the Australian state of Queensland admitted making mistakes in the 2002 criminal investigation of Volkers that led to the dropping of charges against him. Leanne Clark, now a judge, was criticized for these errors in a report the next year by the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
The former head of the Queensland Academy of Sport told last year’s royal commission hearing that Volkers kept his coaching post there because he was good at it.
Volkers was barred from the 2014 Pan Pacific swimming championships after Swimming Australia — belatedly reversing its inaction in the face of the 2002 allegations — denied him credentials.
Of course, the global peregrinations of former Irish national swim team coach George Gibney, whose sex crimes are far more extensively documented than the Volkers allegations, are the reason for our upcoming action in federal court to force the U.S. government to release Gibney’s American immigration records. The Irish national police recently announced that they are revisiting the charges against him.
THE GIBNEY SERIES: