by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
Dustin Perry, the mysterious coach with an international résumé and and a record of abuses and complaints in many states, is up before USA Swimming’s National Board of Review on multiple counts, according to sources in the sport. The hearing is scheduled for as soon as tomorrow, Tuesday, and is designed to get Perry added to the 100-plus list of coaches banned for sexual misconduct.
The suddenly aggressive stance of the national sport governing body toward Perry, after a decade or more of inaction under the direction of CEO Chuck Wielgus, coincides with escalating Congressional interest in investigating the culture and cover-ups of sexual abuse in swimming. Last week, in the face of a public petition by abuse victims, Wielgus withdrew his scheduled induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. At the same time, the New Times weekly of South Florida published a cover story jumping off from Concussion Inc.’s reporting on local and national cover-ups of Alex Pussieldi, a coach in that region whose scandals emanated from his 2004 physical assault of one of his swimmers at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex – site of the Hall of Fame.
These reporters, likewise, have been alone in reporting on the global travels of and tawdry file on Dustin Perry.
Perry’s whereabouts have been unknown ever since the club operating out of the municipal aquatic complex in Carson City, Nevada, fired him earlier this year, after learning via Concussion Inc. that Perry had abruptly departed Pocatello, Idaho, under a cloud of allegations, some of which were being secretly investigated by USA Swimming.
Previously, Perry had served an 18-month suspension from USA Swimming for misconduct while coaching a team in Oklahoma — where he had been hired after being separated by the local YMCA in the wake of abuse allegations. We also spoke on the record with one of Perry’s victims from that period.
During his suspension, Perry coached with American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Famer Jack Simon in Mexico and fostered relationships that enabled him to import ambitious swimmers into the United States, in a pattern somewhat similar to, though on a smaller scale than, that of Alex Pussieldi in Florida. It is faithful to the facts in the histories of both coaches to characterize Perry as something of a “poor man’s Pussieldi.”
Most recently, Concussion Inc. learned that Perry is under investigation by local prosecutors in one of the states where he coached in between Oklahoma and Idaho.
Next: Complete links to Concussion Inc.’s coverage of Dustin Perry.