Utah President’s ‘Apology’ to Swimmer’s Family Part of Appeal of Department of Education’s Dismissal of Greg Winslow Complaint; Winslow Assistants, Defender Remain on Staff

Published December 4th, 2013, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce

 

 

Aftershocks of the Greg Winslow scandal at the University of Utah continue without monitoring by the mainstream media — which have simply noted that athletic director Chris Hill, who presided over the cover-up of the coach’s many-faceted abuses, survived when he probably shouldn’t have.

But more is going on than just the progression of the Arizona lawsuit by Whitney Lopus against Winslow and Sun Devil Aquatics over his serial molestations of her when she was a young teen swimmer there, before following Winslow to Utah for a year.

Back in June we reported that Matt Fiascone, father of whistleblower swimmer Austin Fiascone, had filed a formal U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights complaint over Utah’s handling of the Winslow affair. See https://concussioninc.net/?p=7647.

In October the Fiascones met with university president David Pershing, who gave both of them letters of apology.  In the letter to Matt, Pershing apologizes “for the upset Greg Winslow’s conduct has caused your son.” Pershing tried to thread the needle — stopping just short of an admission that the university had engaged in a cover-up. (The document is viewable at http://muchnick.net/pershingtofiascone.pdf.)

More recently, Fiascone appealed the Department of Education’s finding that Utah did not commit a civil rights violation, and Pershing’s apology is part of the appeal. The university president’s letter, Fiascone points out, “specifically refers to the mistakes made in setting the scope of” the original fall 2012 campus Equal Opportunity Office report, which exonerated Winslow of allegations by Austin Fiascone that were subsequently acknowledged to be true.

The text of Matt Fiascone’s appeal letter to federal investigators is at http://muchnick.net/fiasconeappeal.pdf.

A few other ongoing aspects of the Winslow-Utah scandal:

*No personnel changes were made in the athletic department despite the fact that the University’s investigation described several staff members and one, Kate Charipar, acknowledged maintaining “too close” of a relationship with Winslow given her position in the athletic department.

* All of Winslow’s assistant coaches last year remain employed by the university, even though some have admitted witnessing Winslow’s alcoholic and improper behavior.

* Danielle Caldwell remains involved with the program as a graduate assistant. Caldwell and Traycie Swartz were Ute swimmers who were interviewed last December by Arizona State University police in the investigation of Winslow’s abuse of Lopus at Sun Devil Aquatics. Yet it is believed that the women did not disclose this fact in their interviews by Utah campus investigators. (Both Caldwell and Swartz refused to talk to us when we reached them in March, days after Winslow was removed as coach at Utah in light of the Arizona criminal investigation. See https://concussioninc.net/?p=7005.) Matt Fiascone told us that he regards Caldwell as “guilty by association and by omission in her interview with OEO. She was therefore complicit and should not be permitted to continue involvement with the program.“

University spokeswoman Valoree Dowell told us, “There was a thorough independent investigation conducted earlier this year and the University of Utah Athletics Department has complied with all of the recommendations that came from it.”

We did not previously upload Utah’s trustees-commissioned Glazier-Sullivan-Nielsen report in June –in effect, a reconsideration of the grossly inadequate OEO investigation. We have now done so; the public version of the report is viewable at http://muchnick.net/utahreport.pdf. Though the Glazier document might not be grossly inadequate, it is far from the last word on the Winslow affair, and for that reason we support Matt Fiascone’s Department of Education appeal. The Glazier conclusions boil down to three elements:

* acknowledging that Winslow should have been fired earlier — but for general alcohol abuse, not for specific malfeasance;

* juxtaposing redacted passages of allegations against Winslow — often lengthy blacked-out material — with flat assertions that others viewed events differently, so that the evidence, according to Glazier et al., was mixed; and

* placing the blame on dereliction of duty and unfaithful reporting up the chain of command by departed associate athletic director Pete Oliszczak, rather than on athletic director Hill himself.

Austin Fiascone comments: “I’m amused that the university actually gave you a comment and chose to contradict what is in Pershing’s letter. In his letter he specifically says they are ‘putting in to place’ policies to protect student athletes. At least at the time of our meeting, they were open about not having completed the process as Ms. Dowell purports in her statement.”