Susan Woessner Resigns as USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Director After Being Called Out For Her Relationship With Sean Hutchison — A Coach She Then Investigated

Remembering and Honoring Sarah Burt Means Forcing Congressional Action Above and Beyond the Safe Sport Act of 2018
February 22, 2018
Pat Hogan, USA Swimming’s Club Development Director, Resigns Along with Safe Sport Director Woessner — Most Infamous For Helping a Secretly Banned Olympic Coach Get a New Job at the Nearby Country Club Aquatics Center
February 22, 2018

by Irvin Muchnick

 

Susan Woessner, the founding director of USA Swimming’s Safe Sport department, resigned today after her boss — the organization’s CEO, Tim Hinchey — was confronted with information that she had been compromised prior to the 2010-11 investigation of the relationship of coach Sean Hutchison with his swimmer Ariana Kukors.

This month Kukors, now 28, alleged that Hutchison had groomed and abused her since the age of 13 at their age-group program in Seattle. Those allegations are now under investigation by both law enforcement agencies and the new National Center for Safe Sport.

Late in 2010 USA Swimming, which had just set up a Safe Sport program under Woessner, began investigating allegations of Code of Conduct violations in Hutchison’s relationship with Kukors, who was by then of adult consent age. The investigation, which came at the time of the coach’s directorship of a new professional training center in Fullerton, California, concluded that there was no violation, but the upshot was that Hutchison resigned.

Woessner’s resignation today followed by less than 72 hours an email Monday from Kukors’ lawyer, B. Robert Allard, to CEO Hinchey and chief counsel Belinda McRoberts, in which Allard wrote in part: “Susan Woessner was presented with about as clear a conflict of interest as it gets when she oversaw the investigation into Sean Hutchinson in 2010-2011.  I will let you ask her what this information is and see if she tells you the truth.” The full text of the Allard email is immediately below.

In her resignation letter, which is viewable at https://view.publitas.com/letterofresignation/_/page/1, Woessner began, “While I would normally consider my personal life to be private, it is in the interest of full disclosure that I describe an incident from eleven years ago.”

She went on to write that in 2007 “I engaged in kissing on a single occasion with then-coach, Sean Hutchison. I have never had sex with Sean Hutchison. I have never had a sexual or romantic relationship of any kind at any time with any USA Swimming coach, including Sean Hutchison.”

While not conceding wrongdoing in her role in USA Swimming’s Hutchison investigation, Woessner said she was resigning in order to “keep the focus on the tremendous efforts of my friends, colleagues, and personal heroes working every day to keep kids safe.”

Farther below here — following Allard’s email to USA Swimming CEO Hinchey — Concussion Inc. reproduces a set of questions I had submitted yesterday to Hinchey, Woessner, and senior director of communications Isabelle McLemore.

 

==========

 

ALLARD TO USA SWIMMING

 

From: B. Robert Allard

Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 2:22 PM

To: Lucinda McRoberts

Subject: USA Swimming

Importance: High

 

Dear Ms. Mc Roberts:

Please send the following and attached ONLY to Mr. Hinchey.

I would appreciate your confirmation that this has been delivered as instructed.

Thank you,

Bob

 

2/19/18

VIA EMAIL ONLY

Dear Mr. Hinchey:

I have never met you and don’t know much about you.  You will note that for this reason I spared you in our public calling out of the resignation of certain high level executives within USA Swimming.  What I do know is that you inherited a mess as far as a culture of indifference to sex abuse victims manifested mainly through your predecessor Chuck Wielgus.  Many of these transgressions were highlighted in the recent Orange County Register article written by Scott Reid.  However, Mr. Wielgus certainly was not alone.  There were many persons still working with Mr. Wielgus who were as responsible as him for the repeated misrepresentations about and covering up for knowledge of pedophile coaches.  This list begins with Susan Woessner and Pat Hogan.  Stunningly, none of these individuals to our knowledge have received any kind of negative employment action for their bad behavior.

The first attachment is a dossier that we wrote to Congress in circa 2013 which outlines some of the actions taken by these individuals.  As it relates to Mr. Hogan, you should take particular note of the fact that he supplied a glowing employment recommendation for his friend, admitted pedophile and former National Team Director Everett Uchiyama to a local swim club where he had access to countless children.  This dossier led to the first Congressional call for an investigation into the affairs of USA Swimming by Congressmen George Miller (see second attachment).

The following is an email that I wrote to Ms. Mc Roberts in November of 2014 detailing the actions of Susan Woessner and why even as of that time she needed to be fired.

We have been asked to participate and supply information to the House of Representatives as it relates to the second call for a Congressional investigation.  From where I sit, there will be demands for the same type of “cleaning house” within USA Swimming that occurred with USA Gymnastics.   This process must begin with YOU lest you desire for the same fate as former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny.

We are hereby demanding that you fire Susan Woessner and Pat Hogan immediately.  They both have major blood on their hands as the information I am hereby sending to you makes clear.  Further, based on information which has recently been made available to us, Susan Woessner was presented with about as clear but as a conflict of interest as it gets when she oversaw the investigation into Sean Hutchinson in 2010-2011.  I will let you ask her what this information is and see if she tells you the truth.  Suffice it to say, she has an intimately personal relationship with the very person who was being investigated.  If Susan does not tell you the truth about this, I suggest you give her a lie detector test.  When this information becomes public (multiple writers are actively looking into this and are gathering evidence as we speak), it will explode in your face unless you take immediate proactive action.   

NOW is the time to show that you are not part of the good ol’ boy network which has plagued USA Swimming for decades.  If you really want to do the right thing and separate yourself from this past sordidness, you need to start by terminating immediately Susan Woessner and Pat Hogan.  We are requesting that this action be completed by Monday February 28, 2018.  This gives you a week which is more than enough time to look into these matters for yourself.  If you fail to meet this demand, we will assume that you stand by these two people and back up everything that they said and did in the past.

Should you ever wish to talk with me, you can call me anytime on my cell which is 408-391-8420.  I would be happy to honestly answer any questions you may have or back up any of our allegations by the abundance of information/documentation which we have collected over the years and have now supplied to Congress.

I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt.  Now is the time to show your true colors.

Thank you,

Bob

*****

CONCUSSION INC.’S INQUIRY TO USA SWIMMING (via email on February 21)

  1. Thanks for your clarification of USAS’s proactive forwarding of the old Hutchison investigation to the National Center for Safe Sport — I’d like to give my readers a sense of the general flow moving forward. Does the National Center supplant the function of the NGB’s Safe Sport department? Does it complement it? Will Swimming Safe Sport be evaluating complaints to see whether they can be handled internally or warrant forwarding to the new all-sports entity? If the latter, what will be the jurisdictional criteria?
  2. Please let me know if you can disclose the salaries of Ms. Woessner and her assistant (is it still Ms. Hoendervoogt? — and forgive me if she changed her name professionally). The question’s driver, overall transparency, seems relevant at this moment of energetic public scrutiny following the enactment of the Safe Sport Act.
  3. Do you think there was impropriety or the appearance of impropriety in the 2012 hiring of Ms. Woessner’s sister for a marketing management position? Do you think there was impropriety or its appearance in the announcement of Geri Woessner’s hire, https://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=1453&itemid=4800&mid=8975 (link now dead), without even mentioning her immediate family relationship to the Safe Sport Director?
  4. What was the rationale behind Safe Sport Director Woessner’s participation in the 2015 SwimBiz conference? Critics argue that it is baseline intuitive that there should be a firewall between policing and marketing.

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