by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
Alex Pussieldi, the abusive South Florida swimming coach now in exile as a television sports commentator in his native Brazil, was the subject of tips to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his unusual living arrangements with young foreign swimmers in Fort Lauderdale as long ago as the early 2000s, a federal government source has told Concussion Inc.
As we have been reporting, Roberto Cabrera Paredes, a Mexican swimmer who said Pussieldi had been his legal guardian, complained to both Fort Lauderdale police and USA Swimming after a physical altercation between them in 2004 on the deck of the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, where Hall of Fame coach Jack Nelsons Fort Lauderdale Swim Team operated under a contract with the city parks and recreation department. Nelson himself has been credibly accused, by open water swimming legend Diana Nyad, of raping her in her early- and mid-teens.
We also have reported that Fort Lauderdale police, city officials, and Sun-Sentinel swimming writer Sharon Robb covered up the most serious underlying allegations by Cabrera Paredes: that Pussieldi had had a Peeping Tom videotaping system in his house, and possessed child pornography and videos of his own sex with underage boys.
Concussion Inc. has published voluminous public records documenting the Pussieldi cover-up. Our requests for additional records still await disposition by the City of Fort Lauderdale. The city attorney has claimed dubious exemptions under Florida information law for the redactions in documents so far provided, and has told us that attachments clearly referenced in existing documents probably no longer exist.
According to our federal government source, the North Miami office of the FBI received information on Pussieldi in the years prior to 2004. The FBI did not act on that information because victim witnesses did not emerge.
In 2008 the FBI headed the regional multi-agency task force which, acting on a tip from Internet service provider AOL, prosecuted Roberto Caragol, Pussieldis colleague on the swim coaching staff at Fort Lauderdales Pine Crest School. Caragol, who confessed to possessing and distributing child pornography and molesting boy and girl swimmers, was featured with Pussieldi on a website page about Pine Crests services in booking local hotel rooms for visiting swimmers. Caragol is now serving a federal prison term in Miami.
What our source did not know is whether the earlier information about Pussieldi was shared with agents who worked on the Caragol investigation. That will be the focus of future queries.