Complete headline links to our Shoulberg series are at https://concussioninc.net/?p=10736.
by Irvin Muchnick
In the “John Doe” lawsuit against Dick Shoulberg’s Germantown Academy swimming program, claiming widespread and heinous abuse, John Doe’s juvenile assailant is named. He pleaded out to criminal charges and was handed a temporary suspension from USA Swimming.
The complaint in Pennsylvania court referred to John Doe’s tormenter as “A.L.” At the bottom of this article, we reproduce all the references to A.L. in that public document. A facsimile of the entire complaint was uploaded last week to http://muchnick.net/germantowncomplaint.pdf.
In comment boards under reports on the case that have been published elsewhere, John Doe was “outed.” It is appropriate to note here that A.L. is Alex Lebed, now a freshman swimmer at the University of Florida. Lebed is just the latest of a long line of recruits from Germantown by Florida swimming coach Gregg Troy. Shoulberg and Troy have worked together for years on the board of directors of the American Swimming Coaches Association.
Efforts to reach Lebed for comment on this story were not successful. I also left multiple unanswered email queries for both Troy and Florida’s associate athletic director for communications, Mary Howard.
Florida freshman Lebed is one of two Germantown Academy alumni currently on the Gators swim roster. The other is Arthur Frayler, a senior.
The new lawsuit makes reference to “A.F.” as a player in a key episode in which A.L. added to his cumulative abuse of John Doe:
“In December of 2012, the team went on a winter training trip to Florida. A.F., a GAAC alumnus, came back to swim for a couple of days with the team at that time. The abusive aspect of the program was apparent when John Doe witnessed A.F. beat A.L. on the ground in A.L.’s room. John Doe ran away quickly fearing the same would happen to him. A.L. thereafter moved into John Doe’s room, continued to have fits of anger and degraded John Doe in any way possible.”
Our answered questions to University of Florida Coach Troy are:
- Are you aware of the lawsuit?
- What is Lebed’s status with the team, and has it changed?
- Were you aware of this situation when you recruited Lebed?
- Please explain the process by which Lebed came to your program. Was he recommended to you by then Germantown coach Dick Shoulberg?
- I am familiar with the subsequent Gators history of some Germantown swimmers — most notably the late Fran Crippen and his sister. How many Germantown swimmers in total have had collegiate swimming careers in your program? Do Germantown alums represent the largest single secondary school block among Gators swimmers during your time there?
- Specifically, Shoulberg would severely degrade another minor student in the program, A.L., calling lazy and stupid and telling him that John Doe was smarter and going to be more successful in the pool. This type of “pitting” one swimmer against another was common place under Shoulberg’s regime.
- As a result of pitting A.L. against John Doe, as often happened in GAAC, A.L. began to abuse John Doe both physically and mentally, and the abuse increased the more that Shoulberg pitted the boys against each other.
[23. Describes locker room abuse of John Doe but does not name A.L.]
- If John Doe swam faster in practice or Shoulberg degraded A.L. or praised John Doe, then John Doe would be beaten and abused even further and more severely. If Shoulberg yelled at John Doe for not working hard, then he was also abused in the locker room for being an “embarrassment to GA swimming.”
- Under the supervision and in the charge and care of Coach Chris Lear, in August 2012, John Doe attended a sectional meet in Buffalo, NY. Despite knowing there was a problem with A.L. and despite the abuse that John Doe was suffering, the coaches placed John Doe in the same hotel room with A.L. for the weekend. There were never any room checks or supervision by coaching staff on this trip or any other trip/meet that John Doe attended despite GA’s knowledge of the problem with A.L.
- As a result of being placed in the same room as A.L. in Buffalo, A.L. hit and punched John Doe when back at their hotel room. The last evening of the meet, A.L. got on top of John Doe and beat him for more than five minutes before another member of the team entered the room and ripped A.L. off of John Doe and told him to leave him alone. A.L. also backed John Doe against a wall and kneed him in his genital area. John Doe fell to the ground and A.L. continued to beat him on the ground. Later on, A.L. again attacked and beat John Doe until another teammate pulled him off and held A.L. down until he was in control. At no time were there any supervision or room checks at the team hotel.
- In September of 2012, John Doe began freshman year at GA at the age of fourteen (14) and the abuse continued on a daily basis. He was made to carry A.L.’s books, run errands for him and had to give him his clothes for A.L. to use. A.L. threatened John Doe that he he swam faster than A.L. at practice, then A.L. would beat him harder and longer, but at the same time, if John Doe swam slower than A.L. at practice, Shoulberg and Lear would scream and make derogatory comments to John Doe and A.L. would beat him for making coaches angry. The mental abuse was torture.
- In December of 2012, the team went on a winter training trip to Florida. A.F., a GAAC alumnus, came back to swim for a couple of days with the team at that time. The abusive aspect of the program was apparent when John Doe witnessed A.F. beat A.L. on the ground in A.L.’s room. John Doe ran away quickly feeling the same would happen to him. A.L. thereafter moved into John Doe’s room, continued to have fits of anger and degraded John Doe in any way possible.
- While in Florida, Shoulberg’s conduct was not much better than A.L.’s […]
- Not long after John Doe was injured in “Freshman Fight Club,” amazingly, the coaching staff continued to put John Doe in danger by forcing him to room with A.L. once again at the Eastern Championships held in late February 2013. As a result, A.L. once again beat John Doe up in their hotel room after A.L. was furious following losing a race.
- In July of 2013, A.L. continued his torture and abuse of John Doe. A.L. sent threatening text messages to John Doe, warning him that A.L. would physically go after him at some point. One day, while practicing at Lynwood Gardens training for the upcoming junior national championships in California, A.L. continuously taunted and threatened John Doe, telling him how he cannot wait until California where John Doe would not have anyone to protect him and that John Doe better not go to sleep because John Doe would be sorry. A.L. said he was going to sodomize John Doe at night if he did fall asleep.
- As a result, John Doe finally broke down, screaming at A.L. in front of Shoulberg. Shoulberg, instead of disciplining A.L., told John Doe to stop it, that they were in public and told A.L. to leave John Doe alone or “his Mother will be calling me to complain.” John Doe thereafter told Shoulberg that he did not want to be in the same room with A.L. However, continuing to exhibit his callous and dangerous attitude towards children in the program, Shoulberg told John Doe that he would room with A.L. and “that is the end of the discussion.”
- John Doe remained in constant fear and in a state of psychological unrest, being afraid to speak up in fear of the coaching staff and other members of the team, while remaining in fear of A.L.’s threats of rape and assault.
- After USA Swimming found out about the abuse to John Doe., A.L. was ultimately suspended from USA Swimming for 90 days. A.L. was also arrested by Whitemarsh Township, charged and plead guilty relating to his continued torture and abuse of John Doe.[…]