by Irvin Muchnick
USA Swimming’s new Sean Hutchison-Ariana Kukors scandal — Kukors says Hutchison groomed her from age 13 and the evidence is overwhelmingly on her side — follows the USA Gymnastics story into the great maw of the major news media.
Great. Also, in my view, timid. Concussion Inc. reported on Hutchison and Kukors six years ago. And as Congress purportedly gears up to expand the gymnastics investigations into USA Swimming, USA Taekwondo, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, as well, I can say, with all due modesty, that this site is the No. 1 resource for background on all the many threads of swimming scandals.
With this in mind, I’ve begun assembling a pocket guide to our six years of coverage. It’s all too much for a single post, so I’m making it a multi-part series. Here’s Part 1, with links from 2012 alone.
March 27, 2012
I kick things off with an essay for Beyond Chron, the San Francisco alternative news site, headlined, “Whatever Happened to the USA Swimming Youth Coach Sex Abuse Scandal?” The piece explains how I got involved (as would my 2014 interview with Outside magazine, https://www.outsideonline.com/1927681/should-usa-swimming-go-down).
April 16, 2012
Concussion Inc. publishes the ebook short, PENN STATE IN THE POOL: The Cover-Up of the USA Swimming Sex Abuse Scandal. The book is still available on Amazon Kindle for $1.49 (http://amzn.to/JoS53m). It is rather dated but includes some of the earliest and most important primary-source documents. By the way, I’ll still send 100 percent of the Amazon royalties, from day one, to any legitimate anti-abuse organization that will work with me on coordinating media outreach.
April 17, 2012
I begin my periodic queries of USA Swimming’s corporate sponsors.
April 18, 2012
I begin examining the strange story of Olympic gold medal swimmer David Berkoff — an on-again, off-again activist against abuse who changed his tune during his term on the board of directors of USA Swimming. To follow the thread begun by the three links immediately below, plug “David Berkoff” into the search engine field at this site.
May 17, 2012
I write about two new swimming coach abuse cases in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. I was early enough to the coverage not to know yet how commonplace these eruptions were. Generally, I’ll be omitting local ad hoc reports from this long compilation.
I also publish the “Berkoff List” — believed to be a variation on USA Swimming’s secret “flagged” list of coaches who are not banned but are unofficially watched and kept off the pool decks of sanctioned clubs.
May 28, 2012
“Courts Must Toughen Sanctions Against USA Swimming’s Nose-Thumbing Tactics in Sex Abuse Litigation”
July 19, 2012
“Yahoo Sports Commissioned Swimming Sex Abuse Investigation — Then Was Afraid to Publish It. Read the Story Exclusively at concussioninc.net”
The Washington Post breaks the story of swimming’s three-decade cover-up of the abuse of swimmer Kelley Davies Currin by Washington, D.C., area coach Rick Curl. Our links to the many dimensions of the Curl story are too numerous to list here. Plug “Rick Curl” into the search engine field at this site.
July 29, 2012
I report that the California Supreme Court denied an appeal by USA Swimming and ordered the organization to produce documents it had been withholding in civil lawsuits by abuse victims, in defiance of lower courts’ discovery orders and even monetary sanctions.
August 10, 2012
In the course of my queries this month to the members of the boards of directors of both USA Swimming and the American Swimming Coaches Association, the long-time executive director of ASCA, John Leonard, emails me in part: “We do not have an organization that deals directly with children, nor is that part of our purpose in any way, shape or form, according to our formative documents from 1958 and thereafter.”
August 14, 2012
In a piece about the ASCA employment of bad actor Mitch Ivey (still not banned by USA Swimming at that point, but probably already secretly “flagged”), I begin years of reporting on ASCA’s workarounds for abusive coaches.
September 5, 2012
The first of many reports on how Pat Hogan, USA Swimming’s managing director for club development, gave a glowing job reference for Everett Uchiyama, after Uchiyama’s stealth resignation as national team coach and permanent ban on abuse allegations. The job for which Uchiyama was applying was at the Country Club of Colorado, just down the road from USA Swimming headquarters in Colorado Springs. Subsequent reports would show that USA Swimming held several board meetings at the country club, and the conference room even looked out over the pool where Uchiyama was now aquatics director. Plug “Pat Hogan” and “Everett Uchiyama” into the search engine field at this site.
September 7, 2012
First of multiple reports on Venezuelan swim coach Simon “Danny” Chocron, who jumped $250,000 bail in Florida on multiple counts of molesting both boys and girls at the Bolles School in Jacksonville. In the culmination of the Chocron matter, and after years of Chocron’s coaching back in his native country, the Venezuelan swimming federation last year sanctioned him; this followed the federation’s discovery of my publication of USA Swimming’s secret dossier on Chocron (http://muchnick.net/chocron). Plug “Chocron” into the search engine field at this site.
September 11, 2012
Report on the 2011 deposition of Dale Neuburger, long-time USA Swimming and international swimming federation board member, and a former president of USA Swimming. He is a principal in an Indianapolis company, TSE Consulting, that profits from aquatics industry contracts and conflicts of interest. TSE has brokered huge deals with foreign swimming programs for Bob Bowman, the coach of Michael Phelps. TSE and Neuburger also help big meets and events to venues for which they consult. In addition, as future coverage will illustrate, Neuburger was a key architect of USA Swimming’s offshore captive reinsurance subsidiary, and helped set up human trafficker and Peeping Tom coach Alex Pussieldi with the Kuwaiti national swim team. Plug “Neuburger” into the search engine field at this site.
September 17, 2012
Writer Tim Joyce — who would partner with me on reporting for this site in 2013-14 — breaks the story of USA Swimming’s secret $625,000 settlement with national team coach Mark Schubert, and sets the stage for coverage of Southern California coach and USA Swimming benefactor Dia Rianda’s whistleblower lawsuit for getting wrongfully terminated at Schubert’s Golden West club in Huntington Beach. Discovery in the Rianda suit would break open the story of Schubert’s use of a private investigator to spy on rival coach Sean Hutchison’s inappropriate relationship with his swimmer Ariana Kukors (http://muchnick.net/schubertspyrecord.pdf). This information supplements the big current news that Hutchison is being investigated for having groomed Kukors from the age of 13. Plug “Schubert” and “Rianda” into the search engine field at this site.
September 28, 2012
The story of USA Swimming official Will Colebank, who was surreptitiously fired and expelled from the Colorado Springs headquarters after he exchanged predatory emails with a young male swimmer he’d reportedly met at a swimming camp in Florida. Colebank went on to teach in a public school in the same community before his subsequent arrest.
October 3, 2012
Tim Joyce’s story for WBAL radio in Baltimore on allegations against Murray Stephens, the International Swimming Hall of Fame founder of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, the original home of Michael Phelps. Subsequently, this report and all of Tim’s work would be disappeared by WBAL, and he would join me at Concussion Inc. Follow all of our many reports on the twists and turns of Stephens and his club by plugging “Murray Stephens” into the search engine field of this site; the five links immediately below are just the first round.
November 2012 was the month of the death of a 14-year-old swimmer, Louis Lowenthal, at the North Baltimore Aquatics Club’s Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, with no lifeguard present. You are invited to browse the coverage, which includes a gruesome autopsy report.
November 14, 2012
Story of how a defrocked Washington State judge, Charles Baechler, who was accused of raping a woman who had appeared in his court, landed as a swimming coach in South Dakota and an official of USA Swimming’s regional affiliate.
November 28, 2012
Did you know that the athletic director of the University of Notre Dame — which has its own problems with campus sexual assaults by football players — counseled USA Swimming on the abuse issue? This all seems to be in Jack Swarbrick’s capacity as a mover and shaker of the sprawling business of “amateur” sports in Indiana. (In the fine coverage of the USA Gymnastics scandals by the Indianapolis Star, Swarbrick also was revealed to have advised for that group, as well.) Here’s our coverage.