An Open Letter to Victor Vieth, Executive Director of National Child Protection Training Center, on His ‘Independent Review’ of USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Program

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August 20, 2013

Dear Mr. Vieth:

Here are some questions suggested by the news that your National Child Protection Training Center has been hired by USA Swimming to conduct an “independent review” of the USA Swimming safe sport program:

1. How much is the Center being paid for this project? And out of what funds?

2. Were you consulted on the timing of this announcement on the virtual eve of a meeting between USA Swimming officials and the office of Congressman George Miller of California, who is probing the controversy over shortcomings in USA Swimming’s handling of a generation of cases of youth coach sexual abuse? How do you feel about being party to a $200,000 public relations campaign, as described in a recent internal USA Swimming memo?

3. What do you think about USA Swimming’s lobbying, in concert with the Catholic Conference, against a proposed state law in California to relax the statute of limitations for civil claims by abuse victims?

4. You are examining USA Swimming’s claimed forward-looking practices. Are you also investigating why two USA Swimming executives — Everett Uchiyama and Will Colebank — were dismissed because of sexual misconduct, without public announcements, and then resurfaced in jobs working with children in the very same Colorado community? If not, why not? Do you know that Colebank, who went on to become a high school teacher, was subsequently arrested and convicted on child pornography and solicitation charges — heinous acts that could have been prevented by those at USA Swimming with knowledge of why he was terminated there?

5. What do you say to critics who argue that the core problem with swimming is not the design of its administrative flow charts and stated procedures, but the lack of accountability of its leadership — starting with Chuck Wielgus, the executive director, who just hired you? Why should the community of 350,000 swimmers and their families, and the general public, have any confidence in an “independent review” commissioned by the same people who brought us the 25-year-long cover-up of rapist coach Rick Curl (among other examples)?

You can email your responses to [email protected]. I won’t be offended if you choose, instead, to fax your answers to Congressman Miller at 925.674.0983.


Irvin Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick