by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
With Rick Curl packing for prison and with polite discussion proceeding on who in the USA Swimming leadership knew what and when about him, we shouldn’t lose sight of a far more celebrated coach who is in the International Swimming Hall of Fame and, to this day, enjoys a handsome income and profile in the aquatics industry despite knowledge that he has done exactly what Curl did to Kelley Davies. Probably worse.
Ladies and gentlemen … swim parents of America … agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation … members of the United States Congress … let’s talk some more — and again and again — about Paul Bergen.
When purported sex abuse activist David Berkoff jumped back to the USA Swimming board of directors in 2010, he carefully chronicled the lowdown on Bergen, who had been named months earlier as the molester of gold medalist Deena Deardurff Schmidt in her childhood in Ohio. The Berkoff document is viewable at http://muchnick.net/berkofflist.pdf.
Berkoff lists four categories of bad guys, in addition to the official published compendium of coaches banned by USA Swimming. Bergen is head of class of the final category: “persons who have been publicly accused (by way of published media and by an identifiable accuser) of sexual abuse or misconduct.”
Here’s what David Berkoff wrote about Paul Bergen:
“Bergen is a Hall of Fame coach who is credited with coaching dozens of world record holders and Olympians in the US and abroad. In 2010, Bergen was impliedly accused by former swimmer and 1972 Olympian, Deena Deardurff (Schmidt), of sexual abuse beginning when she was just 11 years old (she alleged abuse by her coach during the period of time she was coached by Bergen and stated that her coach was a Hall of Fame coach, but did not directly use his name).”
Next: Muchnick on the ethics of ID’ing rapist coaches.