In my new ebook, PENN STATE IN THE POOL: The Cover-Up of the USA Swimming Youth Coach Sex Abuse Scandal, I reproduce 2010 emails by dissident 1988 and 1992 gold medalist David Berkoff — who shortly thereafter would be reappointed to the swimming organization’s board of directors.
That history is reviewed in my column today for Beyond Chron.
A facsimile of Berkoff’s email exchange of two years ago is now also viewable at http://muchnick.net/berkoff072610email.pdf.
Swimming legend Pablo Morales, who also won a gold medal in 1992, disputed Berkoff’s account in an email to me on Monday. Here is the full text of Morales’ email:
Thank you for checking up on your facts.
1) I have absolutely ZERO recollection of having sat down with David Berkoff “over a handful of beer” for any occasion, much less to engage in a conversation about coaches who were having inappropriate relationships with their swimmers. I can honestly say that socializing “over a handful of beers” is something which I have not done frequently in my lifetime so I feel like I would have a better than average chance of recalling instances where something like this occurred. Though I know David, I simply cannot recall any instance when he and I sat down over beers.
2) Any statement attributed to me having any knowledge of the named coach is patently false. First of all, I was never coached by this individual so by this fact alone, I could have absolutely no knowledge of his conduct or ability to even make such a statement. Secondly, though his name is familiar to me, this is a person I knew only as someone who coached in the area. As I write this now, my recollection of him is fleeting. It makes no sense to me that I would have been engaged in a conversation about this man with anyone, much less claim to be knowledgable about such details of his personal life.
3) As I write this, I have no knowledge of (first-hand, second-hand, or any type) that he has engaged in, nor have I ever recalled that he has been accused of engaging in (your email is the first I have heard of it), this behavior.
I am dumbfounded by the claim that such a conversation occurred. I know David and I like him. My only guess is that he may be confusing the person with whom he had this conversation.
Again, thank you for checking up. Needless to say, I do not expect that my name will be mentioned as someone who had knowledge of, or claimed to have, knowledge of this person’s conduct.
|Pablo Morales | Head Coach|
|University of Nebraska Swimming & Diving|
However, in a telephone interview yesterday, Berkoff stood by his account. He said he had the conversation with Morales at a restaurant in Orlando, Florida, in 1988, and British swimmer Adrian Moorhouse was with them.
It is very clear that Berkoff was an early and aggressive voice against USA Swimming’s culture of enabling, denying, and lying about sex criminals in its coaching ranks. What remains unclear is what Berkoff is doing about it since he rejoined the board in September 2010.