Complete links to the Dustin Perry series are at https://concussioninc.net/?p=8603.
by Tim Joyce
An ex-swimmer in his 30s, who was a 15-year-old sexual abuse victim of Dustin Perry, two days ago contacted Concussion Inc. to tell his story. We are identifying him only as John. He told us, I felt I had to come forward to protect kids who may be in harms way. The story has been squashed for too long and its time that justice is served.
The grooming and ensuing abuse seems identical to the pattern of Perrys behavior while he coached in Pocatello, Idaho his second-to-last USA Swimming coaching stop. Perry left Pocatello late last year, while under investigation based on complaints from parents, and moved to the club in Carson City, Nevada. After Irv Muchnick and I began reporting on his history, Perry was removed in Carson City.
Most recently, a Perry coaching/lifeguarding/aquatics director application was rejected in Craig, Alaska. Again, this followed Concussion Inc. reporting. USA Swimming has never banned Perry. In 2004-05, USA Swimming suspended Perry for 18 months, but he simply used the time to coach in Mexico under American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Famer Jack Simon. And the contacts there enabled him to intensify a career-long practice of importing and housing foreign swimmers.
John in Oklahoma called Perry a master manipulator who would insinuate himself into his future victims lives and create at atmosphere of such trust and freedom, so that a typically confused teenager could easily be coerced into thinking that sexual activity with an adult male was normal.
John recalls the familiar props evident in the Idaho story: alcohol, pornographic movies shown to underage swimmers, frequent hazing that usually ended up with naked boys in the pool, and verbal taunts regarding male genitals and other sexual topics.
John first met Perry in Oklahoma City just around the time of the Oklahoma City bombings. John was already an accomplished swimmer when he applied for a shadow lifeguard position at the local YMCA. Since John was too young to be a lifeguard, this position was created as a type of internship. It was at this time that Perry began to groom John:
I met Dustin in the summer of 1995. I had just turned 15. My father was looking for something for me to do during the summer rather than running around. My father contacted the YMCA in downtown Oklahoma City. Dustin told my father he had a life guard internship that would allow a 15 year old to learn to lifeguard before the legal age of 16 to receive the training and test.
My parents did not give approval for me to live with Dustin. I started running away shortly after meeting Dustin before I was 16. I would run away to Dustin’s house. Eventually the police would get
called and I would be picked up and returned to my parents. It got so bad that undercover police would come looking for me at Dustin’s house. I would hide during this time and Dustin was gone working. Looking back now I realize Dustin created feelings in me that I was missing out on things and he would help me plan my runaways. Dustin would come pick me up after I would call him on a pay phone pay.
John said the physical abuse progressed from cuddling and hugging that led to inappropriate conversations about girls specifically Johns experience with girls at that young age; to touching; and finally to sexual acts that led to Perrys control over Johns life.
John lived with Perry on and off for a period of several years. In his early 20s, Perry moved on to another boy.
After Perry convinced John that he needed to emancipate from his family, John saw a social worker and falsely stated that his own father had been the one who abused him; that lie still haunts John. During our interview, he repeated several times that his family never abused him and their worst sin was that of being overprotective. John said he has a healthy and strong relationship with his parents today.
One of the most disturbing aspects of Johns account is the role of the Oklahoma City police. In the course of conducting multiple trips to the Perry home in search of a runaway teenager, did they not think it prudent to investigate Perry? And if they did investigate Perry, did the police contact the multiple YMCAs near Oklahoma City where Perry coached?
Asked if he was aware of other Perry abuse victims, John said:
I didn’t ever see others being sexual abused but I saw the side effects and the manipulation that was going on. I was around for a long time and saw Dustin move from job to job and meeting swimmers that he would befriend.
We were starting to hear things from other parents coming from other kids on the swim team. This was also right around the Edmond YMCA that I started hearing others making these accusations.
I watched Dustin get let go from job after job. I never knew the real reasons of why his jobs were never working out or why we were always moving from YMCA to YMCA. I always got the spinned Dustin Perry version. I was used and manipulated by Dustin the entire time.