by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is also chair of the Democratic National Committee, represents Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, which covers much of Broward County — where youth swim coach Alex Pussieldi practiced his craft, with strong undercurrents of sexual predation, from the late nineties until last July.
There the national-scale issues now being probed by the FBI, the Government Accountability Office, and the minority leadership of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce are not abstractions. Like many other coaches elsewhere, Pussieldi in the Fort Lauderdale area was the beneficiary of an odd principle of inside-out justice that needs rethinking. It’s one thing for an accused to be regarded as innocent of criminal charges until they are proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of peers. It’s another to be privileged with intimate daily exposure to kids in the wake of charges of sexual misconduct, only because the perpetrator was well connected and the local police and parks and recreation department fell down on the job, and because disclosure of vital information was withheld from the community.
The above describes the Alex Pussieldi cover-up. Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is overdue to take up our invitation to address it.
In late February, Capitol Hill sources advised us to share our Pussieldi information with Wasserman Schultz’s office, and we did. The congresswoman’s staffers promised us a quick statement on the situation but didn’t deliver. Perhaps the explanation is that Wasserman Schultz only comments on “nice” stories.
More than two months later, the parents of America and Wasserman Schultz’s own constituents could still use an indication that she is in the game, which is no game — it’s the job of overseeing the physical and emotional safety of sports kids.