by Irvin Muchnick
We’ve been telling the story of the multi-layered U.S. Center for SafeSport complaint of Sarah Ehekircher, grooming-abuse victim of USA Swimming coach Scott MacFarland, and of the center’s con game in luring Ehekircher to a meeting at a Denver law office on May 24.
Michael Henry, the SafeSport director of legal affairs, attended the meeting, following less than clear disclosures and preparation, which seemed designed to protect the center’s interests more than the complainant’s. Henry and senior investigator Kathleen Smith tape-recorded the session, during which Ehekircher did not have legal representation.
The center’s actions in this episode went dimensions beyond a fleeting bad look. They were a disgrace — compelling evidence that the U.S. Olympic Committee’s new-and-improved sexual abuse policing regime is a Groundhog Day marketing sham.
On Friday another SafeSport complainant, whom I’ve known for years (and whose account I proceeded to buttress in a long phone conversation), emailed: “Kathleen Smith is also a lawyer who for the past 10 months (on numerous occasions) has assured us that she is not a ‘practicing attorney’.”
Smith is Ehekircher’s investigator, too. The information that Smith is a lawyer was news to Ehekircher.
I invited the comments of Smith and of center media spokesperson Dan Hill. The latter called me late Friday.
Hill confirmed that Smith is a lawyer. Hill explained that many of the people who go into the field of sexual abuse investigation or support have law school backgrounds without officially or primarily practicing as lawyers.
Hill also did not dispute something else Ehekircher has been telling me: that she sent a succession of emails to investigator Smith, following up on points in the May 24 meeting, and Smith has not once replied. This combines with other factors to raise the question of whether Ehekircher is being “ghosted” at this point.
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