by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
We earlier suggested that federal investigators subpoena Larry Liebowitz, the swim coach at Oregon State University, now that the Beaver State is in focus over the recently concluded Paul Bergen-NOT Junior International meet (previously named for the International Swimming Hall of Fame coach who was publicly accused by one of his many sex abuse victims, Olympic gold medalist Deena Deardurff Schmidt, nearly four years ago).
The case against Bergen — but more so, against Big Swimming, including especially the cover-up professionals pulling down six-figure salaries at USA Swimming — deepens with our new information, chillingly detailed, from another Bergen victim, Melissa Halmi.
Melissa’s story also drags Liebowitz’s still-awaited testimony into the center of the investigation even more urgently. For he is not just a long-time associate of defrocked national team coach Mark Schubert; Liebowitz was also on Schubert’s founding staff at the Mission Bay Aquatic Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida, nearly 30 years ago. In 1988, Bergen signed a four-year, $500,000 contract to succeed Schubert there when he moved on to the University of Texas.
We don’t know yet whether Liebowitz himself was still in Florida when Mission Bay first hired Bergen, then unhired him after Melissa came forward to the complex’s developer, James Brady.
But either way, it is very difficult to believe that Liebowitz … and Schubert … and countless other insiders aren’t well aware of the circumstances that cost Bergen this big break and sent him into exile training horses. Indeed, the likelihood that high-level figures in the sport participated in the cover-up of Bergen’s crimes against children surpasses even the evidence involving the now-imprisoned Rick Curl and the now-banned Mitch Ivey.
(To refresh everyone’s memory, David Berkoff — once a self-promoting anti-abuse activist, now a self-promoting USA Swimming vice president-apologist — said in a 2010 email, “Denying knowledge of Rick Curl, Mitch Ivey and others banging their swimmers! It’s a flat out lie. They knew about it because we (coaches and athletes) were all talking about it in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s. I was told by several of Mitch Ivey’s swimmers that he was sleeping with Lisa Dorman in 1988. I heard the whole Suzette Moran story from Pablo Morales over a handful of beers and nearly threw up. I was told Rick Curl was molesting Kelly Davies for years starting when she was 12 by some of the Texas guys.”)
Liebowitz, Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis, university president Edward J. Ray, and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber continue not to respond to our requests for comment.
We have the following additional question: Why does the Liebowitz bio at the OSU athletic department website, http://www.osubeavers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=799217&SPID=127149&DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=30800&ATCLID=207912790&Q_SEASON=2013, state, “He is married to assistant coach Mary Anne Gerzanick-Liebowitz”? Last year Gerzanick-Liebowitz was fired.