by Irvin Muchnick
January 20, 2014
Tim Joyce kicks off our coverage of Dustin Perry, a coach who plowed through USA Swimming programs in five states in four different regions of the country, leaving a trail of abuse each time. He would finally and permanently be banned five months after these reports began. Previously, Perry had been suspended for 18 months — and simply spent that time at a position in Mexico he had procured through the American Swimming Coaches Association’s job postings. (And Perry’s boss in Mexico waa ASCA Hall of Famer Jack Simon). Plug “Dustin Perry” into the search engine field at this site.
January 28, 2014
Our coverage of the whitewash Victor Vieth / Gundersen Health System review of USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program adds the element of how Vieth blew off a Massachusetts woman and her daughter, whose experience countered the report’s cheerful citation of “three survivors” who spoke “positively about USA Swimming’s handling of their outcries of abuse.” Vieth’s group also was paid a good bit more by USA Swimming than a discreetly buried footnote in the report would suggest. Plug “Vieth” into the search engine field at this site.
February 7, 2014
“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.” The first of our lengthy series, supported by extensive primary-source documents, on native Brazilian coach Alex Pussieldi, another in a line of well-connected transnational criminals in the swimming world. The supremely phlegmatic American news media still have not picked up on this story — indeed, the swimming correspondent for the Sun Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale was a primary architect of the Pussieldi cover-up — though USA Swimming did open a fresh investigation weeks into our coverage, and Safe Sport director Susan Woessner emailed another coach in Florida: “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. “ Today Pussieldi is a swimming commentator for Brazil’s SporTV network — the Rowdy Gaines of his country. Plus “Pussieldi” into the search engine field at this site.
March 10, 2014
The tale of Marie Labosky, who left assistant coaching positions, under clouds, at both the famed Germantown Academy program in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, and the Parkland program in Allentown. She was a disciple of legendary coach Dick Shoulberg, whose own downfall is told in separate stories.
March 17, 2014
Our Dick Shoulberg series begins in earnest. See the link immediately below, and plug “Shoulberg” into the search engine field at this site.
April 17, 2014
Our report on how part of the American Swimming Coaches Association’s business model involves partnering with a law firm that helps coaches troubleshoot immigration issues.
May 25, 2014
I chronicle how the swimming news site SwimSwam.com first picked up our reports on FBI investigations of USA Swimming, then withdrew their article in the face of “pushback.”
May 28, 2014
USA Swimming’s captive reinsurance subsidiary, the United States Sports Insurance Company — based in Barbados! — goes into “run-off” mode in anticipation of ending the highly criticized practice of exploiting the tax dodges and lax regulation of running an offshore risk-mitigation operation. The article linked immediately below has additional links to further reading on this subject.
May 28, 2014
“WOMEN’S SPORTS FOUNDATION COORDINATES SEX ABUSE VICTIMS’ PROTEST OF USA SWIMMING CHIEF CHUCK WIELGUS HALL OF FAME INDUCTION.” The kickoff of our coverage of a campaign that might have set the record for the most non-Summer Olympic year major media attention USA Swimming ever received — that is, until this year’s Sean Hutchison-Ariana Kukors scandal, which was triggered in turn by the USA Gymnastics story, surpasses it. The Miami New Times, an alternative weekly, was the only publication to tie the Wielgus/Hall of Fame story into a pick-up of our Alex Pussieldi story. Ultimately, documented perjuror and cover-up king Wielgus would stand down from his Hall of Fame induction and issue an apology of sorts for not having done more to stop abuse on his watch. Wielgus stayed in his million-dollar-a-year job, however, all the way up to his death last year. Plug “Wielgus” into the search engine field at this site.
September 3, 2014
“Travis Tygart, Head of Olympic Anti-Doping Agency, Investigated Sexual Abuse Cases For USA Swimming.” I begin a series of reports that are of significance in their own right, and of even greater importance in light of the revelation, inter alia, that one of the abuse cases Tygart managed for USA Swimming was that of the Venezuelan Danny Chocron, a fugitive from justice for his heinous crimes at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida. (Links to the Chocron story are elsewhere in this compilation.) And in an obvious conflict of interest, Tygart is both an alumnus of Bolles and a former coach in the same Bolles athletic department that was the venue of the Chocron investigation. Plug “Tygart” into the search engine field at this site.
October 5, 2014
“Departure of USOC Athlete Ombudsman Raises Questions of Timing With This Investigation.” The story — possibly the mystery — of the sudden retirement of John Ruger has not, as yet, been well resolved by Concussion Inc.’s coverage. What I do know is that Ruger went on to an executive position with USA Volleyball, so it is possible that he is double-dipping with a pension from the ombudsman job, where conflicting accounts of his efficacy are problematic. See the link immediately below and plug “Ruger” into the search engine field at this site.
October 7, 2014
Another year, another investigative feature that is scheduled to be published by an outlet much larger than Concussion Inc. — but never is. In this case it was the long article headlined “How the USA Swimming Sexual Abuse Scandals Became a Federal Case,” which was assigned by VICE Sports (r.i.p.), rewritten to specification, edited, then abandoned by the publisher. We took it home; read it for yourself at the link immediately below.
October 15, 2014
Here, at the links immediately below, is the fully-in-character story of the fast-tracking by USA Swimming’s Wielgus of a $23,000 grant for the American Swimming Coaches Association to broker a nebulous ideological study by an Indiana University researcher. This after the ASCA magazine had consoled Wielgus, in the wake of his International Swimming Hall of Fame fiasco, with a fawning profile.
October 25, 2014
At the conclusion of nearly a year and a half of investigation by the minority staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the soon-to-be-retiring Congressman George Miller releases a letter asking the FBI to “fully investigate USA Swimming’s handling of both past and present cases of child sexual abuse.” Later in this compilation is my take on why Miller’s investigation, and his prod for the Government Accountability Office to produce a meaty analysis of related federal statutes, turned out to be a big disappointment.
November 5, 2014
How mainstream journalists covered the death of Diana Nyad’s accused molester — and International Swimming Hall of Fame coach — Jack Nelson.
In its December 2014 issue, Outside published a powerful long article by Rachel Sturtz headlined “UNPROTECTED” and sub-headed: “There’s a horror in the shadows of American competitive swimming: a continuing legacy of sexual abuse, usually involving male coaches who prey on young women — and a governing body that looks the other way.” It is still viewable at https://www.outsideonline.com/2162781/unprotected.
Outside also published, online only, an interview with Tim Joyce and me, under the headline “Should USA Swmming Go Down?” The link is https://www.outsideonline.com/1927681/should-usa-swimming-go-down.
(And very recently Outside invited me to write a short commentary column on the aftermath of the Nassar-USA Gymnastics scandals, including their impact on how the public will start processing parallel stories at USA Swimming and other national sport governing bodies. This article will be appearing in the April issue of Outside.)