Did USA Swimming Lie to Washington Post and the World About When They Learned of Sex Abuse Allegations Against Coach Rick Curl?

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Bob Allard, the San Jose attorney who represents Kelly Currin (née Davies), is hopping mad over something a USA Swimming spokesperson, Jamie Fabos Olsen, told The Washington Post for its report on the “emergency hearing” for Rick Curl, Currin’s old coach.

Curl carried on a sexual relationship 30 years ago with Currin, who was one of his swimmers and was 13 years old at the time. Curl later paid the young woman’s family $150,000, in a shaky legal agreement that sounds an awful lot like hush money. Currin decided not to hold the secret any longer, and shared her story with The Post’s Amy Shipley.

Allard is angry over this statement by USA Swimming’s Olsen: “USA Swimming was provided with information late Friday afternoon which enabled it to initiate the Board of Review process. We requested an expedited hearing on Monday and have invited the alleged victim to testify. We hope she will take part in this process, as reporting remains an integral part of the Safe Sport program.”

There are multiple pieces of this tissue of half-truths, and I’ll get to all of them in due course. USA Swimming has known all about Currin’s allegations, chapter and verse, since at least April, when the organization’s own investigator interviewed her. Despite that, Curl was given credentials for the recent Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha.

(As I have noted previously on the blog, USA Swimming’s hapless flack – Jamie Fabos Olsen’s boss, Karen Linhart – threatened to have me thrown out of the CenturyLink Center on the second night of the Trials. My crime? Asking Linhart if there was an update on the “emergency hearing” of accused sex offender Noah Rucker, one of Rick Curl’s protégé coaches at the Curl-Burke Swim Club.)

Right now I want to focus on just one element: USA Swimming’s apparent position that it only last Friday acquired the information that enabled the docketing of an “emergency hearing” for Curl.

This morning I checked back at The Post online, but the Fabos Olsen quote wasn’t there. What’s there, instead, is this language, in reporter Shipley’s own prose: “USA Swimming on Monday night initiated a National Board of Review proceeding, requesting an expedited hearing and inviting the alleged victim to testify, according to USA Swimming spokeswoman Jamie Fabos Olsen. Fabos Olsen said the organization moved to take action last Friday after receiving the non-disclosure agreement.”

This reduces the lie to a vague suggestion: it seems that only the clinching development of receiving a copy of the agreement of years ago between Curl and the Davies parents allowed USA Swimming to convene a National Board of Review hearing. I wonder how many reasonable, objective people buy that one. It’s like saying a probable-cause hearing on a murder has to be postponed because the dead body alone isn’t sufficient.

Though this will make me no friends in the sportswriting and media fraternities, I also have to say that I don’t know if The Post today revised its original story, removing Fabos Olsen’s direct and more damning quote. If so, then bad on Shipley (or, more likely, a pusillanimous editor). Shipley didn’t respond to emails requesting comment.


Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick