by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
A new sanctioned USA Swimming club coach in San Diego, James Pantera — alias James D. Land, alias James Sabre Panter Jr., among as many as ten others — eluded USA Swimming’s background check procedures despite being a convicted felon, profiled by the FBI for his skill at crafting fake identities, and featured in an article about his crimes on the front page of a major newspaper. Pantera et al. are also documented with three distinct dates of birth and multiple Social Security numbers.
A Southern California USA Swimming member has prepared a dossier on Pantera, totaling more than 100 pages, for submission to the Colorado Springs headquarters early next week. Concussion Inc. obtained an advance copy of this document, which is labeled a request for review of Pantera’s membership status. We will upload the report after it is in the hands of top swimming officials.
Pantera’s wild story combines elements of the ghost girlfriend of Manti Te’o, and of Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Catch Me If You Can — minus the comedy. There is nothing funny at all about the fact that a 46-year-old felon (46 seems to be his actual age) slipped through the simplest of loopholes in the USA Swimming background check system. The loophole is this: There apparently is no reference check for a coach starting his own team — only for one applying for association with an existing team.
The Pantera case follows on the heels of our reports on the judge in Washington State who was disbarred after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a sexual assault — then landed as a coach and top state swimming official in South Dakota. Even after other brushes with the law there involving alcohol and violence, that judge-turned-coach, Charles Baechler, also briefly and very recently turned up at another club located virtually in the backyard of the USA Swimming offices.
One of the open questions of the Pantera report is exactly what he intended to get out of his fraudulent access to USA Swimming and young athletes when he did the paperwork last fall to form a swim club at the Claremont Recreation Center, a facility of the San Diego City Parks and Recreation Department.
Pantera’s bizarre claims include American Swimming Coaches Association Level 5 certification (even though no such record can be found on the ASCA website), along with scattered representations that some of his relatives perished in a plane crash on Super Bowl Sunday, while others were killed in a terrorist attack in Israel whose news coverage was suppressed. According to the dossier, he twice enlisted in the American military so that he could collect signing bonuses.
Follow ConcussionInc.net for more on this developing story next week.