by Irvin Muchnick
In the vague processing of Sarah Ehekircher’s reinstalled complaint of abuse by her 1980s teen coach Scott MacFarland — and of USA Swimming’s skewed and biased investigation of her original complaint in 2010 — both the swimming body and the new National Center for SafeSport have pressed Ehekircher to produce “new” evidence.
Since neither group has given Ehekircher access to the voluminous files she had submitted eight years ago, the demand is unjust and more of the same.
But Ehekircher went ahead and filled the gap, anyway — this week submitting statements from two swim team contemporaries who thoroughly back up her claims. The less-detailed but more powerful of the two is an October 26 email to Lucinda McRoberts, USA Swimming’s chief counsel, from a woman who recants the testimony she provided eight years ago to swimming’s National Board of Review. (Concussion Inc. is not publishing the names of the women here, but they are fully on the record to USA Swimming.)
The woman in the email now says that in 2010 she signed an affidavit in support of MacFarland, but has since “reread what I signed and it is entirely inaccurate. I spoke to Scott’s attorney briefly while I was at work and then signed the letter he drafted without correcting the facts. There is no way I could have known the detail that was in there as I was 10 when Sarah moved in with Scott and 13 when he was fired.”
The woman goes on to express her regret for her “recklessness in signing an affidavit without reading it.” She says that she now “would like to set the record straight if possible.”
The other swimming teammate of Ehekircher provides a lengthy declaration regarding MacFarland’s general body-shaming methods, as well as her specific observation that Ehekircher’s relationship with him “was not a ‘normal’ coach/swimmer relationship.”
In a detail I found familiar in my nearly decade of covering USA Swimming abuse cases, the woman discusses sleepovers of swimmers at a house where Ehekircher was living with her coach, MacFarland. (The woman specifically refers to one sleepover and later uses the plural.)
The full texts of these statements, along with Ehekircher’s own cover letter submitting them to USA Swimming, are reproduced below. Jonathan Little, one of the country’s top anti-abuse litigators, is advising Ehekircher in this matter.
In one of the more absurd wrinkles of jurisprudence in the 2018 SafeSport regime, Ehekircher also was asked to “prove” that she was a swimmer under MacFarland as late as 1989. And she has done that, too, by unearthing records of her competition at the March 1989 Colorado Short Course Championship meet in Englewood, representing MacFarland’s club, Mission Viejo Colorado Swimming.
It is way past time for USA Swimming and the SafeSport Center to do the right thing in Ehekircher’s case. This obligation is open-and-shut on the basis of both the known and the suppressed evidence. In the case of the center, which was recently constituted for the very purpose of correcting such injustices, the need to act responsibly is intensified by the shameful actions of its legal affairs director at her initial interview.
For complete headline links to this story, beginning in March, see https://concussioninc.net/?p=13125.
Ehekircher and supporting statements
My name is Sarah Ehekircher, I am 49 years old, of sound mind and body and make the following statement of my own free will under penalty of perjury:
1. My Birth date is 12/20/1968.
2. I started swimming when I was 12 years old.
3. I started swimming for Scott MacFarland in the Fall of 1985 my Junior year in High School as a member of the Mission Viejo Colorado swim team in Aurora, Colorado.
4. During the 2nd semester of my Junior Year 1986, I moved in with Scott MacFarland, I was 17 years old.
5. After living with Scott MacFarland for approximately 4 months, he began having sex with me, I was 17 years old.
6. While I was living with Scott MacFarland in high school he was my swim coach with the Mission Viejo Colorado Swim Team, which became Mission Aurora Colorado Swim Team during that time.
7. During the summer of 1986, at a swim meet in Irvine, California, Scott raped me in a hotel room, I was 17 years old.
8. In the transcript of the 2010 National Board of Review hearing Scott MacFarland admits to having sex with me from 1987-1993: (page/lines): 273: 2, 6, 19-22- 274: 20- 276: 22-24-481: 24- 488: 2-4 491: 11-12- 492: 1-3- 500: 1-506:5- 507: 6, 19- 519: 4, 524: 15-25- 525: 14-20-526: 1-10- 555:5-25-559: 1-5-561: 2-9-567: 8-13-568: 2-6-575: 2-4.
9. In the meet results, recently discovered by USA Swimming, attached as Exhibit A, it’s clear that I was a member of Mission Viejo Colorado Swim Team.
10. I swam for the Mission Viejo Colorado, (Mission Aurora Colorado Swim Team) from 1985 to 1990.
11. Scott MacFarland was the Head Coach of the team at the time I was a swimmer at Mission Viejo Colorado, (Mission Aurora Colorado) Swim Team, from 1985-1991
12. Scott MacFarland was my swim coach when I swam for the Mission Viejo Colorado, (Mission Aurora Colorad) Swim Team.
13. Exhibits B and C are recently obtained statements from swimmers that were on the Mission Viejo Colorado team when I was attesting to the fact that Scott MacFarland was my coach.
14. Scott MacFarland was having sex with me when he was my swim coach.
[signed and notarized]
Sarah K. Eiekircher
Date: October 26, 2018 at 10:41:11 PM MDT
To: [Lucinda McRoberts]
Subject: Sarah Ehekircher case
My name is xxxxx and in 2010 I signed an affidavit in support of Scott MacFarland regarding the allegations against him by Sarah Ehekircher. I have since reread what I signed and it is entirely inaccurate.
I spoke to Scott’s attorney briefly while I was at work and then signed the letter he drafted without correcting the facts. There is no way I could have known the detail that was in there as I was 10 when Sarah moved in with Scott and 13 when he was fired.
I know it is likely all too little too late, but I would like to set the record straight if possible. I’m an truly sorry for my recklessness in signing an affidavit without reading it thoroughly. Please let me know if there is anything I can answer or restate. I can be reached at this email or at xxxxx.
To whom it may concern:
My name is xxxxx and I started swimming for Scott MacFarland in 1987 with MACs Swimming. I turned 13 in October and aged up to the senior group which he coached.
At the time I aged up Sarah was at Arkansas swimming in college and we did not start swimming together until the following winter, around February 1988 and I know that for sure because xxxxx, Sarah and myself believe Casey Shroads went to HS Boy’s State in Fort Collins that same month. Later that spring I was at a sleepover that Sarah held at a house that Scott had. The same girls that went to the HS state meet were there and maybe some additional girls but I am not 100% sure on who they were. Starting in Feb going forward we did swim together on a daily basis and competed in a hand full of meets together up until I started swimming HS later that fall.
During workouts that Sarah would often have her own lane because her workout was usually different than ours. She would often work out with surgical tubing etc. and most of us did not work receive that kind of training. I also recall the yelling. Although, he wasn’t just yelling at Sarah, we all were subjected to being yelled at during workouts.
The workouts, in my opinion, were extremely rigorous and geared towards the elite level swimmers. We ran and lifted weights/drylands through the week prior to our afternoon work outs and had morning workout before school on Tuesday and Thursday. In the summer it was two-a-days every day and morning workout on Saturdays unless there was a meet. Sarah at the time was living with Scott so not only did she participate in all our scheduled workouts she would often run with Scott between practices.
Most of the girls on our team were scrutinized for our weight. One occasion we were practicing our relay exchanges and one of the girls was up on the blocks and he called her a fat cow. There was nothing fat about this girl – at all. I was specifically targeted for my weight and put on a 500 calorie/day doctor supervised diet at Scott’s suggestion. At the time I was in 8th grade and around 140 lbs. I spent the whole time I was skinny thinking I was fat and it’s carried over to my adult life. I can tell you one thing he used to do while I was standing on the pool deck getting ready to jump in, he would ask me how many Ho-Ho’s I had that day. Knowing full well that I was basically being starved. I wasn’t close to one of his premier swimmers and Sarah was so when it came to food what she ate was under a constant microscope.
I may not have been there to witness the specific things that Sarah has discussed with you at length, but I can tell you that we swam together up until me beginning HS swimming and periodically thereafter. I can tell you that her relationship with Scott was not a “normal” coach/swimmer relationship. She did get a lot of additional attention and that sometimes caused jealousy especially from the other girls on the team.
My experience with Sarah was different than with some of my other teammates – many of them were not nice to me, but she was always very kind to me and would give much needed encouragement to a girl that just wanted to be accepted. I have nothing but good memories of Sarah – from sleepovers to taking the mini-road trip to the boys’ state meets. I have always hoped the best for her and I support her in this endeavor.
Clearly this is a high-level overview of my recollections from 30 years ago, but I am more than willing to answer any specific questions you may have. Please feel free to contact me: xxxxx.