YMCA Aspect of Dustin Perry USA Swimming Abuse Scandals

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by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce


Previously, Concussion Inc. has reported that USA Swimming learned, no latter than during its initial National Board of Review investigation of Dustin Perry in 2002-03, that Perry had been fired by an Oklahoma City area YMCA in 1998. We now know that, at some point following his 18-month “suspension” by USA Swimming (which he served in Mexico under Hall of Fame coach Jack Simon), Perry also had some sort of affiliation with another YMCA, in Illinois.

Perry’s confused employment trail is another reminder that the systems of the swimming industry, and their culture of tolerating and underpublicizing abuse in order to grease the wheels of the institutions and their money-changers, involve more than just the callous cover-up artists of USA Swimming in Colorado Springs. The story of Dustin Perry and his ilk involves the integrated relationships of USA Swimming, the American Swimming Coaches Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association — plus individual and collective YMCA’s.

We asked the national YMCA office to shed some light on Perry’s comings and goings. A spokesman emailed back, “I did some digging with our HR [human resources] folks and because the Y is a federated organization, each YMCA association is a separate entity responsible for keeping their employment records etc. (YMCA of the USA is actually the resource office for all YMCA’s). The Ys in Oklahoma and Illinois/Missouri would be your best bet to find the information on Dustin Perry.”

We made it clear that we considered that an inadequate response, by writing back, in part: “Are you saying that in cases of alleged interstate sexual abusers who might have worked at multiple Y’s, the national organization’s position is that there is absolutely no central coordination of personnel records? Perry could have been fired for cause in Oklahoma, applied to another Y in Missouri or Illinois, and benefited from his prospective new employer being none the wiser about his history?”

At that point another Y spokesperson stepped in. Together, we figured out that the team Perry had coached in Illinois in the mid-2000s appeared to be the Barracudas, which at the time was a partnership between the Centralia Recreation Complex (CRC) and the Y in Mount Vernon. (Since 2008, the Barracudas have been a partnership involving the Y in Vandalia, Illinois.)

“Swim team members became Y members so they could participate in Y-sanctioned meets,” the spokesman explained — adding that the Mount Vernon Y has “no record of Mr. Perry as an employee.”


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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick