These Scandals at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club and USA Swimming Call for Further Reporting by City Paper

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by Irvin Muchnick


As I said in yesterday’s post, Baltimore’s City Paper published a rather pointless, painting-by-numbers story on the Doe v. Muchnick lawsuit settlement.

Moving forward, here are some topics from Concussion Inc. on which the “alternative” City Paper and its Van Smith might consider shining some light in the Charm City — or, “alternatively,” explaining why they can’t.

* WBAL Radio last year disappeared its own series on sex abuse in swimming by my colleague Tim Joyce, after Joyce started zeroing in on allegations against Murray Stephens, founder of Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman’s North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Joyce’s original report (which didn’t name Stephens, though Concussion Inc. soon would) led to Stephens’ departure as the face of the club. But not his departure — he continues, as owner of the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center, to collect scores of thousands of dollars a month in NBAC pool rental fees.

* After reporting that “a” coach at NBAC had been so accused, the Baltimore Sun failed to add that Baltimore County police claimed to me to have lost a report on all this by USA Swimming. Due to “the pasage of time” — less than two years.

* Last year two students at the McDonogh School in Owings Mills were quietly expelled on computer theft charges. The students were two of several who also swim, or used to swim, at NBAC and were at the center of the clique of bullies and harassers of the alleged victim in the February 2012 incident underlying the lawsuit against me. The bullying and harassment both preceded and succeeded the incident itself. Murray Stephens is a major benefactor of McDonogh and his wife is a trustee there. No one at McDonogh will comment on why Stephens, who is unofficially banned from being seen on the deck at his own aquatic center, has been allowed on the deck at the McDonogh natatorium to coach his son.

* Jill Chasson, chair of the USA Swimming National Board of Review, which hears sexual misconduct allegations, recently resigned after I reported that, as NBAC Olympic swimmer Jill Johnson, she had had an underage relationship with her coach John Cadigan, now Bowman’s chief assistant.

* Multiple sources confirm that no lifeguard was in sight at an outdoor practice pool on the morning of October 28, 2012, when 14-year-old NBAC swimmer Louis Lowenthal drowned at Meadowbrook. Analysis of the autopsy report aligns with accounts that Lowenthal was not pulled from the water until many minutes after he was stricken. Meadowbrook’s incident report to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — first released in redacted form before I pursued a state public information act appeal — was filed late and included questionable representations.

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick