Obviously in response to our item yesterday, the Archdiocese of Miami broke more than two weeks of silence on questions about Alex Pussieldi.
In 2004, after being accused of physically attacking a 20-year-old Fort Lauderdale Swim Team athlete — who also said Pussieldi had kept Peeping Tom videos of him — Pussieldi took a “leave of absence” from St. Thomas Aquinas High School. The abusive coach would proceed to ply his wares at a minimum of two other youth programs: the Pine Crest School swim club and the Davie Nadadores. Pussieldi “retired” last year, just ahead of an announcement of his suspension by the local swim authority for using non-residents on his team, and he is now under renewed scrutiny for alleged sexual misconduct at a 2012 age-group meet in Plantation.
Yesterday’s email from archdiocese media coordinator Juan A. Di Prado is beyond embarrassing. Here’s the full text:
Good afternoon Mr. Muchnick.
Thank you for contacting the Archdiocese of Miami. Mr. Pussieldi worked at St. Thomas Aquinas High School from 2000 to 2004. As far as his reason for leaving, he said he didn’t wish to continue coaching at the High School level. There were no complaints on Mr. Pussieldi while he worked at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
I hope this answers your questions.
We immediately replied the following (to which there has been no answer):
Mr. Di Prado:
Thank you for getting back to me. Permit me to follow up:
– There were “no complaints on” Pussieldi while he was employed at St. Thomas Aquinas High School? The February 2004 complaint to police that he physically attacked a swimmer at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex doesn’t count, even though it also occurred while he was coaching swimmers — the exact job description he also had for the high school?
– Neither St. Thomas Aquinas nor the Archdiocese felt there was any obligation, in the name of community safety, to investigate the allegations that gave rise to Pussieldi’s departure from Fort Lauderdale Swim Team? His simple representation that he didn’t want to coach a high school program any more was sufficient in your eyes? Did you care that the young people in the Pine Crest and Davie clubs and other programs with which Pussieldi would proceed to be affiliated might be exposed to the same conduct that had led to the ill-explained end of his tenure at St. Thomas Aquinas?
– I am struck by the failure of your statement to avail itself of the opportunity to make even a formulaic expression of concern for victims of sexual abuse. Your comment?
Complete links to Concussion Inc.’s Pussieldi investigation are at https://concussioninc.net/?p=8652.