I am writing on behalf of the attorneys that continue to hold USA Swimming accountable for the molestation of young swimmers to ask that as the swimming competition comes to an end, that you acknowledge the victims of USA Swimming coaches that have been sexually abused. As you may be aware, more than 60 coaches have been banned for life for molesting young athletes. Many more are still in the coaching ranks.
Last week, one of the most prominent USA coaches, Rick Curl, was finally brought to justice by his molester – a then 13 year old girl. This is the largest molestation scandal and cover up in US amateur sports history and many times bigger than Penn State.
As the swimming competition comes to an end, we think it is the right time to ask what direction the sport of swimming will take in America.
Unless this cesspool of a culture that has allowed molestations to take place for 30+ years comes to an end (like Penn State), many parents will never put their children in a position to be abused. As a country we will lose many potential Olympians. If this country is going to produce another Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte it has to start with giving parents the confidence that their child will not be abused.
In 1999, Ireland went through a similar molestation scandal involving the top echelon in its Olympic Swimming organization. The country reacted by disbanding the organization and starting anew. The future of swimming in this country rests in the hands of a leadership group and board of directors that refuses to clean house and rid itself of problem coaches. It rests in the hands of people that knew more than Joe Paterno or the President of Penn State – Mr. Costas, you had no problem going after Penn State. This situation is worse.
Mr. Costas, as your friend and former Olympian Casey Barrett said, “the Rick Curl molestation story was the worst kept secret in DC”. Yet everyone turned a blind eye.
Mr. [Jim] Bell, you have on your Today staff Avni Patel. She helped us break open this story while at ABC-TV. I would urge the both of you, with Avni’s insights, to acknowledge the victims of this sport and urge this leadership group to do the right thing.
We applaud your decision to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Games with a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies. It was the right thing to do. I hope you can see the USA Swimming situation with the same seriousness.
In advance, thank you for your consideration.