by Irvin Muchnick
February 21, 2013
We report that the FBI has subpoenaed the sealed discovery file in a California sexual abuse civil lawsuit involving swim coach Norm Havercroft. There are actually two California FBI offices investigating USA Swimming; at one, the agent put out the word that he was inviting tips.
February 23, 2013
Con man and former federal prisoner James Pantera gets his claws into the USA Swimming community in San Diego, before a dissident former national vice president, Mike Saltzstein, blows the whistle. Background checks, anyone? In addition to browsing the links below, plug “Pantera” into the search engine field at this site.
February 25, 2013
Susan Woessner, USA Swimming’s “director of safe sport” since 2010, comes in for criticism on a number of fronts. One of them illustrates the brazen corruption of the Lords of the Rings world: Shortly after her hire, her sister Geri Woessner also came on board in Colorado Springs as the organization’s “business development manager.”
February 28, 2013
We report that Greg Winslow, head swimming coach at the University of Utah, is about to be named in a Arizona State University campus police report generated by accusations that one of Winslow’s former Utah swimmers, Whitney Lopus, that he molested her across time as an underage teen when he coached her at the club program at ASU. There are so many dimensions to this story that I will break off some of them for additional dedicated items below. For now, see the original story below, for which even the Associated Press and the New York Times credited Tim Joyce and me, and after which Utah all but literally dragged Winslow off the pool deck at the Pac-12 championship meet that was underway.
April 6, 2013
“USA Swimming’s Consultant on Coach Background Checks Registered Website and Business Names ‘Hooking Up With Tawnie Lynn’ — Explains ‘It’s Personal’”
April 22, 2013
I write about the relationship entanglements of Jill Chasson, an Arizona lawyer and USA Swimming’s National Board of Review chair. She had recused herself from the investigation of Greg Winslow, the abusive University of Utah coach (see above), because her husband, Mike Chasson, owned the age-group club at Arizona State where Winslow had begun sexually abusing Whitney Lopus. I point out that Jill Chasson had met Mike Chasson when he was coaching her on the swim team at Stanford University. Uncomfortably, I add that, as Olympian Jill Johnson out of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, she herself had been involved in a relationship there with an assistant coach, John Cadigan, that might well be classified as statutory rape. Three months after publication of our first article, Jill Johnson Chasson would resign from her National Board of Review position.
May 31, 2013
We report that in a declaration to a California court, USA Swimming vice president David Berkoff explains his obsessive follow of the Concussion Inc. website.
June 6, 2013
We begin a new in-depth series on accused rapist International Swimming Hall of Fame coach Paul Bergen. (He is not on USA Swimming’s banned list but it is possible, even likely, that he is on the secret “flagged” list.) The information that we proceed to develop includes not only existing public allegations against Bergen by Deena Deardurff Schmidt, a 1972 Olympic gold medal swimmer, but also fresh ones by another swimmer out of Cincinnati, Melissa Halmi. These reports would lead to the renaming of an annual swim meet in Beaverton, Oregon, that had been known as the Paul Bergen Junior Internationals. Plug “Paul Bergen” into the search engine field at this site.
June 10, 2013
The campaign heats up for the long-delayed banning by USA Swimming of coach Mitch Ivey, who hadn’t been sanctioned on an American pool deck since getting fired by the University of Florida in 1993. We report that USA Swimming, in “investigating” Ivey, had not even interviewed his main accuser. In November, Ivey would be added to the banned list, most likely after decades on the secret “flagged” list. Plug “Mitch Ivey” into the search engine field at this site.
June 14, 2013
We report the addition to USA Swimming’s banned list of a California coach, Ben Sheppard, whose program featured outreach to minority communities
June 18, 2013
“Congressman George Miller Asks GAO to Expand Investigation into Child Abuse Reporting Laws to Include Sports.” Over the next year and a half, Concussion Inc. would publish dozens of reports relating to the investigation of USA Swimming by the ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce; you can plug “George Miller” into the search engine field at this site. Unfortunately, the Miller investigation laid an egg; there will be another thread in this compilation with my takeout.
June 19, 2013
We begin coverage of why the International Swimming Hall of Fame includes figures over whom serious allegations of sexual abuse hover; some of them are suspected to be on USA Swimming’s secret “flagged” list. Plug “ISHOF” into the search engine field at this site.
July 12, 2013
USA Swimming joins the Catholic Church in lobbying California Governor Jerry Brown to veto legislation that would have relaxed statutes of limitations on sexual abuse. And as the final link immediately below reports, Brown obliges.
July 16, 2013
“United States Masters Swimming: Where Old Perverts Make Soft Landings.”
July 28, 2013
I report a USA Swimming investigation of a February 2012 claim of athlete-on-athlete sexual assault at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. In the course of reporting this, I had to fend off a defamation and invasion-of-privacy lawsuit by the family of one of the alleged assailants, which resulted in a consent order in U.S. District Court in Maryland.
August 2, 2013
I publish the internal USA Swimming memo, in response to Congressman Miller’s investigation, outlining a new public relations strategy to combat negative “perceptions” of the Safe Sport program.
August 7, 2013
I report that the activities of USA Swimming’s Denver-based communications contractor, Ground Floor Media, include trolling colleague Tim Joyce and myself. Ground Floor Media also does work for the Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman.
August 19, 2013
Coverage begins of USA Swimming’s commissioning of an “independent review” of its Safe Sport program. The review would be authored by Victor Vieth of the Gundersen Health System’s National Child Protection Training Center, and I would blast the review and the Vieth group’s incompletely disclosed payment for it. Plug “Victor Vieth” into the search engine field at this site.
October 7, 2013
In four parts, a complete rundown of the aforementioned scandal of secretly dismissed head Olympic team swimming coach Everett Uchiyama; and his immediate hiring, thanks to a reference from USA Swimming executive Pat Hogan, at the aquatics center of the country club where USA Swimming held board of directors meetings.
November 26, 2013
“Don Jacklin, Another Swim Coach, Even Older Than Mitch Ivey, With a Two-State Trail of Disturbing Anecdotes”
December 5, 2013
The beginning of years of coverage surrounding the ouster of and accusations against revered coach Dick Shoulberg of the Germantown Academy outside Philadelphia. Plug “Shoulberg” into the search engine field at this site.
December 24, 2013
I somewhat gently, but critically, review the report of ESPN’s Outside the Lines on disgraced swim coach Greg Winslow. In full truth, the Worldwide Leader had rather shamelessly poached Concussion Inc.’s coverage with zero credit, and only told half the story to boot. After I fielded months of questions for help from the producer and the correspondent, I was told that I was being “recommended” for the talkback panel, facilitated by anchor Bob Ley, following the broadcast of the piece. I wasn’t ultimately chosen, however. One of the women who did talk on the panel later told me she had intended to bring up the need for Congressional intervention on the youth coach sports abuse problem, but “ran out of time.”