Brazilian Abuser Alex Pussieldi’s Victim and Business Partner Leo Martins Banned by USA Swimming — Is Pussieldi’s Own Bust in Sight?

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by Irvin Muchnick

 

In a breaking story with major implications for Concussion Inc.’s now two-year-long investigation of sexually abusive Brazilian swim coach Alex Pussieldi, USA Swimming has banned for sexual misconduct Florida coach and fellow Brazilian Leonardi Hobi Martins — himself a victim of Pussieldi more than a decade ago, and later his business partner.

Credit SwimSwam.com, https://swimswam.com/leonardo-hobi-martins-added-to-usa-swimming-banned-list/, for being the first to report this latest addition to the banned list. For those of you keeping score, the list now numbers 130, almost all of them for coach-on-athlete sexual abuse.

There were a few dozen when USA Swimming began publishing the list in 2010 after chief executive Chuck Wielgus’s defiant and disastrous interviews regarding abuse denial and cover-up on two national television networks. USA Swimming recently gave the $1-million-a-year Wielgus a contract extension through 2020 — less than two years after he withdrew from his scheduled induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in the face of a petition by Diana Nyad and other historical abuse victims, who documented perjury in the CEO’s public statements in controversies and lawsuits surrounding molesters in his ranks.

The still-eligible Pussieldi is a special case because of how much he illustrates about the border-crossing movements of sex criminals with the assistance of USA Swimming’s de facto affiliate, the American Swimming Coaches Association. John Leonard, the executive director of ASCA, is on record as asserting that his organization has no “direct” role in the amateur sports abuse problem “in any way, shape, or form.”

As the Summer Olympics loom, foul water and the Zika virus aren’t the only potential threats to the health and safety of participants. Pussieldi is now a swimming commentator on the Brazilian network SporTV — his country’s equivalent to NBC’s Rowdy Gaines. Pussieldi fled back to Brazil from Fort Lauderdale as my original reports on him, in collaboration with Tim Joyce, were unfolding in early 2014.

From heavily redacted documents in a civil lawsuit against USA Swimming (part of a massive discovery file the group relinquished only on order of the California Supreme Court, which led to its being subpoenaed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation), Joyce and I identified Pussieldi as the coach who was accused, from multiple credible directions, of having kept Peeping Tom bathroom videotapes of Brazilian and Mexican swimmers he was housing in Florida, as well as maintaining a collection of videos of his own sex with underage boys.

After one of Pussielldi’s tenant-ward-swimmers revolted, Pussieldi physically assaulted him on the practice deck of the team he was assistant-coaching at the Fort Lauderdale Hall of Fame complex. The club was run by the late Hall of Famer Jack Nelson, who is well established as having sexually abused Diana Nyad when he coached her at the exclusive Pine Crest School in the 1960s.

The ensuing administrative and police investigations of Pussieldi were covered up by city officials and the Sun Sentinel newspaper, and he was allowed to continue coaching other clubs in South Florida (culminating in his own Davie Nadadores) for another decade. At the bottom of this article are complete headline links to our Pussieldi coverage.

Leo Martins was well known in the local swimming community as Pussieldi’s “boy.” (Pussieldi often referred to Martins as his son, and there is evidence that he became legal guardian of some of the swimmers he imported from around the world.) Martins was one of the swimmers living in the house with the Mexican who first blew the whistle on the coach’s Peeping Tom practices. And Martins is believed to be the person who, in the subsequent covered-up Fort Lauderdale police investigation, acknowledged that Pussieldi had inappropriately touched him.

Local sources say that, at the time, Martins leveraged the incident into a stream of expensive gifts from Pussieldi.

Kaley Lucas, now a Hollywood Beach municipal lifeguard, and at the time a swimmer and a girlfriend of another of Pussieldi’s house tenants, was notably disgusted at a poolside celebration of Martins’ departure to Arizona State University on a swimming scholarship.

Martins’ profile at LinkedIn, now deleted, showed that he got an ASU business degree specializing in travel management, and advertised himself as a consultant for international travel packages.

After graduation, Martins worked with Pussieldi in coaching the Kuwaiti national team. Florida public records also show that Martins was Pussieldi’s partner in a company called Best Swimming.

Pussieldi’s position in Kuwait had been brokered by former USA Swimming board president — and long-time board member, international sport official, and consultant — Dale Neuburger.

On February 19, 2014, USA Swimming safe sport director Susan Woessner emailed a Florida coach, who had complained to her about Pussieldi, that the Brazilian was under investigation. “I understand your frustration and I can only offer frustration myself when I review the file and wonder why more was not done then.  I can tell you that we are committed to trying to right that wrong now,” Woessner wrote.

What remains to be seen is whether this new banning of Leo Martins is an isolated event or a dynamic development in the process of exposing Pussieldi and accounting for USA Swimming’s and ASCA’s many years of employing and covering up for him.

 

 

OUR ALEX PUSSIELDI SERIES

EXCLUSIVE: Florida Coach Stayed on Pool Deck Nine Years After USA Swimming Investigation of Battery Complaint Against Him Also Revealed Secret Videotapes of Boys Living With Him

Published February 7th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi, Swim Coach Accused of Secretly Videotaping Boys Living With Him, Is a Well-Connected Figure in the Sport

Published February 10th, 2014
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See It Now – Heavily Redacted Transcript of Allegations of Secret Bathroom Videotaping By Never-Disciplined Top USA Swimming Coach Alex Pussieldi

Published February 11th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi’s USA Swimming File: “Swimmer resided with [REDACTED] but moved due to [REDACTED’S] inappropriate behavior”

Published February 11th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi’s USA Swimming File: “Swimmer asked if [REDACTED] videotaped him without knowledge or approval. He said yes.”

Published February 11th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi’s USA Swimming File: “Swimmers observed a tape in a VCR located in [REDACTED’S] bedroom”

Published February 12th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi’s USA Swimming File: “Swimmer informed coach [REDACTED] about hidden camera and videotape”

Published February 12th, 2014
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Hall of Fame Swim Coach Jack Nelson — Accused Molester of Diana Nyad — Covered Up for Protégé Alex Pussieldi’s Secret Videotaping of Boys Before Retiring Himself in 2004

Published February 12th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi’s USA Swimming File: “Swimmer scared of [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] said no one would believe him”

Published February 12th, 2014
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Sources: Embattled USA Swimming Coach Alex Pussieldi Hasn’t Really Retired — He’s Just Reorganizing His Brazil-to-Florida Swimmer Pipeline

Published February 13th, 2014
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EXCLUSIVE: 2004-05 USA Swimming Investigation Also Opened Window on Coach Alex Pussieldi’s Videos of His Sex With Underage Boys, Sources Say

Published February 14th, 2014
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USA SWIMMING OPENS INVESTIGATION OF ALEX PUSSIELDI IN RESPONSE TO CONCUSSION INC. REPORTS

Published February 22nd, 2014
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Continuing the Sick History of USA Swimming’s Decade-Long Alex Pussieldi Cover-Up in South Florida — Meet His Compadre Roberto Caragol

Published February 23rd, 2014
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Who’s Protecting Abusive USA Swimming Coach Alex Pussieldi? Take Your Pick

Published February 24th, 2014
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We Forgot Swimming World Magazine — For Which Abusive USA Swimming Coach Alex Pussieldi Is Brazilian Correspondent

Published February 24th, 2014
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Update on Our Investigation of USA Swimming’s Alex Pussieldi Cover-Up

Published February 25th, 2014
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EXCLUSIVE: USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Director and Assistant Failed to Act on 2012-13 Complaints About Abusive Coach Alex Pussieldi From a Florida Parent Volunteer

Published February 28th, 2014
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Published March 3rd, 2014
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Search for Fort Lauderdale City Documents Widens Net of Accountability for Abusive USA Swimming Coach Alex Pussieldi

Published March 4th, 2014
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See the Police Department Report on the Alex Pussieldi Incident in Plantation, Florida, in 2012

Published March 5th, 2014
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Pussieldi Complainants: 2012 Florida Police Report Is Not Accurate

Published March 6th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi Abuse Story Exposes Lobbying Partners USA Swimming and Catholic Church As Cover-Up Partners, Too

Published March 6th, 2014
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Archdiocese of Miami: ‘Mr. Pussieldi Didn’t Wish to Continue Coaching at the High School Level’

Published March 7th, 2014
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Did Archdiocese of Miami Lie About Timing of Alex Pussieldi’s Departure From Fort Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas High School?

Published March 7th, 2014
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Two Stages of Complaints About Swim Coach Alex Pussieldi Evident in Records Released by City of Fort Lauderdale

Published March 8th, 2014
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Superlawyer Norman Tripp, Swimming Powerbroker Dale Neuburger Among Those With Local and Global Ties to Jack Nelson and Alex Pussieldi

Published March 11th, 2014
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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
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ALEX PUSSIELDI LAWYER THREATENS MUCHNICK

Published March 20th, 2014
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See Them Now – First Installment of the File on Swim Coach Alex Pussieldi in Fort Lauderdale Public Records

Published March 20th, 2014
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New Fort Lauderdale Documents: Coach Alex Pussieldi Had Been Legal Guardian of the Mexican Swimmer in the 2004 Assault Incident

Published March 21st, 2014
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New Fort Lauderdale Documents: Sun-Sentinel Swimming Writer Offered Alex Pussieldi Help in Preventing 2004 Assault Report From Getting ‘Out of Hand’

Published March 22nd, 2014
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Sharon Robb, Sun-Sentinel Swimming Writer Who Covered Up For Alex Pussieldi, Is a Member of Three Florida Sports Halls of Fame

Published March 23rd, 2014
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Miami Herald, National Swimming Media Contributed to Legend and USA Swimming Cover-Up of Coach Alex Pussieldi

Published March 23rd, 2014
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Published March 25th, 2014
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Public Records Fights Brew Over Alex Pussieldi Documents in Fort Lauderdale and Plantation, Florida

Published March 25th, 2014
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Fort Lauderdale Clarifies Legal Justification for Each Redaction in Alex Pussieldi Public Records Release– And the Justification Itself Could Tell a Scandalous Story

Published March 26th, 2014
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While Fort Lauderdale Maintains Alex Pussieldi Public Records Redactions, Let’s Review What Is Known About Sex Videotaping Allegations Against Him

Published March 27th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi Social Media Activity Fuels Speculation of a Sighting in Florida – At the Same Time His Swimming Suspension Was Taking Effect

Published March 27th, 2014
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For Plantation Coach and Ex-Alex Pussieldi Colleague at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Mum’s the Word

Published March 28th, 2014
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Dear St. Thomas Aquinas Swim Coach Martin Brady: Please Clarify Your Defense of Alex Pussieldi

Published March 31st, 2014
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Published March 31st, 2014
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Why Did FBI Not Explore Alex Pussieldi Connections While Busting Pine Crest School Swim Coach Roberto Caragol?

Published April 1st, 2014
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Another Alex Pussieldi Witness Ponders Concussion Inc.’s Call For More Information

Published April 4th, 2014
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FBI Miami Office Contacts Concussion Inc. – Still Awaiting Explanation Why 2008 Investigation of Alex Pussieldi Associate Robert Caragol Dead-Ended With ‘Internet Crimes Against Children’

Published April 4th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi Accuser Asks USA Swimming: What About the Anti-Retaliation Rule? Swimming’s Answer: None … In More Than a Year

Published April 4th, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi’s $17,700 Fine, Plus Indefinite Suspension, For 355 Violations – Read It Now

Published April 7th, 2014
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Untangling Mysterious Business Dealings of Abusive Swimming Coach Alex Pussieldi

Published April 8th, 2014
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Fort Lauderdale Police Release 2004 Special Victims Unit Report on Alex Pussieldi – First Documented Confirmation of Allegations of Sex With Underage Boys

Published April 9th, 2014
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Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming’s Perjury King, Is on the Hook, Too, in Fort Lauderdale Cover-Up of Alex Pussieldi

Published April 10th, 2014
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Fort Lauderdale Police Sitting on Two Verbatim Statements in 2004 Special Victims Unit Investigation – One By Alex Pussieldi Himself, the Other by a Victim

Published April 11th, 2014
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Reviewing the Fort Lauderdale Police Special Victims Unit File on Alex Pussieldi – Evidence Is Devastating, and More Reticent Local Witnesses Are Being Smoked Out

Published April 11th, 2014
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Fort Lauderdale Police: Stand By For Our Decision on Release of the Verbatim Statements Accompanying the 2004 Alex Pussieldi Special Victims Unit Report

Published April 14th, 2014
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Swim Fort Lauderdale Assistant Coach Denies Alex Pussieldi Accuser’s Account That He Has Special Information on Pussieldi’s Past

Published April 14th, 2014
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Ex-Girlfriend of Alex Pussieldi Sex-Spy Victim Is Key Witness in Unraveling Cover-Ups by USA Swimming and Fort Lauderdale Police and Parks & Rec

Published April 16th, 2014
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EXCLUSIVE: With Alex Pussieldi Situation in Limbo, John Leonard’s American Swimming Coaches Association Has a New Law Firm to Troubleshoot Immigration Issues

Published April 17th, 2014
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Concussion Inc.’s Timeline For Fort Lauderdale City and USA Swimming Cover-Up of Abusive Human Trafficker Coach Alex Pussieldi

Published April 18th, 2014
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New Times Weekly Working on Alex Pussieldi Story – Years After the Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners Packet With Info on Him ‘Probably Ended Up in the Garbage

Published April 22nd, 2014
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Alex Pussieldi Allegations Would Have Threatened His U.S. Residency If They Had Risen to Level of Criminal Charges

Published April 23rd, 2014
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Quest Continues For Full Story of Alex Pussieldi’s Alleged Abuse of a Swimmer at Fort Lauderdale’s Pine Crest School

Published April 24th, 2014
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Muchnick’s Letter to Fort Lauderdale City Manager Regarding Alex Pussieldi Public Records Dispute

Published April 25th, 2014
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Everyone Owns a Piece of Alex Pussieldi Human Trafficking and Sex Abuse Scandals — USA Swimming, Plus Local Police, Authorities, Schools, Media

Published April 28th, 2014
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FBI’S NORTH MIAMI OFFICE WAS TIPPED TO USA SWIMMING’S ALEX PUSSIELDI YEARS AGO

Published April 29th, 2014
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U.S. Congress — And Fort Lauderdale’s U.S. Congresswoman — Must Take Sordid Human-Trafficking Tales of USA Swimming’s Alex Pussieldi Wherever They Lead

Published April 30th, 2014
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Muchnick Exchange With Fort Lauderdale Counsel: ‘Claim That Further Alex Pussieldi Documents Don’t Exist Is an Embarrassment’

Published May 1st, 2014
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USA Swimming’s Task Force to Implement ‘Safe Sport Improvements’ Headed by Board Member in South Florida — Headquarters of the Alex Pussieldi Cover-Up

Published May 5th, 2014
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Open Letter to Fort Lauderdale City Officials: Stop Wasting Taxpayers’ Money on a Losing Alex Pussieldi Public Records Fight

Published May 9th, 2014
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‘USA Swimming Safe Sport Director Susan Woessner Is Lying,’ Alex Pussieldi Accuser J.P. Cote Tells Concussion Inc.

Published May 14th, 2014
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USA Swimming’s Response to Story of Safe Sport Director Susan Woessner’s Lie About Alex Pussieldi Investigation: None

Published May 16th, 2014
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Weekend Reading For Congressional Investigators: USA Swimming Determined ‘To Right That Wrong’ on Alex Pussieldi — But Claims It Doesn’t Know There Was a Complaint

Published May 16th, 2014
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What the Campaign to Keep USA Swimming’s Chuck Wielgus Out of the Hall of Fame Accomplished – What Remains To Be Done For Criminal Accountability and Federal Oversight

Published June 5th, 2014
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Judge Assigned to Muchnick Suit Against City of Fort Lauderdale in Alex Pussieldi Open Records Dispute

Published June 5th, 2014
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Still Awaiting Meaningful Words or Deeds From Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the USA Swimming Alex Pussieldi Cover-Up in Her District

Published June 10th, 2014
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‘Muchnick v. Fort Lauderdale’ Is Only One Aspect of the Hunt for Documentation of the USA Swimming Cover-Up of Alex Pussieldi

Published June 17th, 2014
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Why Next Week’s Court Hearing on City of Fort Lauderdale’s Deletions of Public Records on Alex Pussieldi Matters For the Federal Investigations of USA Swimming

Published June 26th, 2014
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