Complete headline links to our Shoulberg series are at https://concussioninc.net/?p=10736.
by Irvin Muchnick
Just weeks after Alex Lebed — a swimmer at Dick Shoulberg’s Germantown Academy who is alleged to have repeatedly assaulted the “John Doe” plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Philadelphia area prep school — was expelled and then convicted in juvenile court, another Germantown youth swimmer was escorted out of the locker room and expelled from campus following an incident of inappropriate conduct.
Concussion Inc. learned that the second expelled swimmer promptly transferred to Bolles School in Jacksonville, another private institution with an elite swimming program, and is now a top college prospect.
Tips on offshoots of the Shoulberg story have been streaming in from Germantown families and insiders. We’ll be publishing more about others next week. Some involve the erratic and abusive behavior of Shoulberg, both before and after he was removed from the pool deck in 2013 following the first round of publicity of the John Doe incidents, and then was brought back as “coach emeritus.”
There is no evidence that Shoulberg himself sexually abused underage swimmers. However, these new stories shatter any contention that he was simply passive, out of touch, and remiss in controlling the excesses of others. With more detail than in any of our previous reports on any abusive club or high school coach, Shoulberg is portrayed as personally aggressive in his cruel comments to, and bizarre and hurtful conduct toward, student-athletes in his charge.
Today we start with the information about the Bolles transfer. Like the matriculation of Lebed at the University of Florida — where swim coach Gregg Troy is a long-time Olympic team staff and American Swimming Coaches Association board of directors colleague of Shoulberg — it illustrates the connections and movements between USA Swimming programs in the systematic cover-ups of questionable figures in the ranks of athletes as well as coaches.
Concussion Inc. has the name of the Bolles swimmer but is not publishing it because he may still be a juvenile.
In response to our inquiry to head of school Dave J. Farace, Bolles School’s senior director of communications and marketing, Jan R. Olson, issued this statement: “The Bolles School student records are held confidential at all times and are not available for review. In addition, the utmost discretion is used throughout our admission process.”
Bolles School and its club program, the Bolles Sharks, rank near the very top in the historical production of America’s Olympic-class swimmers. It is also the headquarters of some of USA Swimming’s most prominent cases of suspicions of abuse at minimum, and sometimes known blatant and heinous abuse.
Florida coach Troy previously ran the swimming program at Bolles. There he coached the underage girl who would become his wife.
Travis Tygart, the celebrated chief of the Olympic Committee’s U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, helped direct USA Swimming’s early 2000s cover-up of a molester assistant coach at Bolles, Simon “Danny” Chocron. At the time, Tygart was an attorney in the Denver office of what is now the Bryan Cave law firm.
Despite the fact that he is himself an alumnus of Bolles, Tygart was assigned to head USA Swimming’s investigation of Chocron, who jumped $250,000 bail while facing 14 felony counts. USA Swimming banned Chocron, but without publicity. The organization’s banned list would not published for an additional eight years. Now in his 40s, Chocron is coaching back in his native Venezuela.
According to some sources, Bolles School is also where a 12-year-old male swimmer was located when he received a string of emails with sexual content and solicitations from Will Colebank, USA Swimming’s director of club development. This was in 1998. Colebank’s computer was seized and he was secretly fired — only to land quickly as a middle school teacher in the same Colorado Springs community. On tips from his wife and son, police arrested Colebank for ongoing sex crimes against children, and he was convicted.
In 2014, USA Swimming said it “followed the law and was not a mandatory reporter under Colorado law. However, if faced with similar circumstances today, USA Swimming would handle this differently and report the conduct to law enforcement.”
Given how USA Swimming is now handling Dick Shoulberg and Alex Lebed, there is no reason to believe it has learned any lessons.