by Irvin Muchnick
(I have returned from foreign travel and Concussion Inc.’s coverage has resumed.)
On June 25, Sarah Ehekircher had her second meeting with USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey regarding serial complaints of her abuse by her teen coach, Scott MacFarland, and the handling of her complaints by swimming and the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
Ehekircher was accompanied at the meeting by prominent abuse victims’ lawyer-advocate Jonathan Little. Hinchey was accompanied by both USA Swimming “Safe Sport” program coordinator Liz Hahn and swimming legal affairs director Lucinda McRoberts.
Hinchey promised to consider Ehekircher’s suggestion to provisionally ban MacFarland pending the SafeSport Center’s investigation. (Arguably the new investigation is both a second investigation of the allegations against MacFarland and a review of USA Swimming’s flawed and biased 2010 investigation and National Board of Review hearing. MacFarland has said that he has “retired” from coaching but no action has been taken on the allegations, at any level of swimming or U.S. Olympic Committee jurisprudence.)
That was almost two weeks ago. Ehekircher has not been contacted since by anyone at swimming. Nor has she heard at all from the SafeSport Center since our coverage of how a senior investigator there, Kathleen Smith, conned Ehekircher into a meeting at which a second staffer popped in “to help take notes.” This humble scrivener, Michael Henry, turned out to be the agency’s chief lawyer. Additionally, the session, including an aggressive cross-examination of Ehekircher, was audiotaped even though Ehekircher didn’t have her own legal representation present.
Getting back to USA Swimming … What also remains to be seen, in the silence since the second Ehekircher-Hinchey meeting, is whether the group will release to her the 2010 investigative materials other than the raw transcript of the NBOR hearing. At the meeting, Hinchey, Hahn, and McRoberts were advancing the claim that these files are “privileged” because the technical complainant against MacFarland in 2010 was not Ehekircher but the organization itself, and related records were communications between USA Swimming and its outside counsel, the law firm now known as Bryan Cave. A more persuasive interpretation is that all this was structured so as to allow the perpetuation of a cover-up of all things MacFarland and his wide associations with prominent coaches and programs, and their abusers, across the country.
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