by Irvin Muchnick and Tim Joyce
A California Superior Court judge has set the stage for one of the things the USA Swimming establishment most fears: a jury trial in the lawsuit by philanthropist Dia Rianda, claiming unlawful dismissal from her job as an assistant to former Olympic head coach Mark Schubert. Rianda claims she was fired for blowing the whistle on both the sexual misconduct at Schuberts swim club and his widespread knowledge of national abuse cover-ups.
The ruling by Judge Ronald L. Bauer ends two years of pretrial maneuvering by the defendants: Schubert and his Golden West Swim Club in Huntington Beach, as well as the teams financial arm and assorted unnamed and unidentified John Does.
Rianda, who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to organized swimming, sued in 2012. In the course of discovery, information arose that led to USA Swimmings three-year ban of Schubert assistant Bill Jewell for sexual misconduct.
The most spectacular emerging documentation concerned Schuberts hire of a private investigator to follow rival coach Sean Hutchisons inappropriate relationship with one of his swimmers, Ariana Kukors, when Hutchison was the founding head coach at one of USA Swimmings new excellence centers in Fullerton. In 2011, Hutchison abruptly resigned from the Fullerton post after the Schubert camp leaked damaging material and photos of Hutchison and Kukors to the Washington Post. (In 2009, Kukors set a world womens record in the 200-meter individual medley.)
Rianda also says Schubert expressed guilt to her over his failure, across decades, to come forward with his knowledge of Washington, D.C., area club coach and owner Rick Curls years-long molestation of his swimmer Kelley Davies. Schubert later coached Davies at the University of Texas, and according to Rianda, acknowledged that top national coaches and swimming officials long knew the Curl-Davies story. Last year, Curl pleaded guilty to 1980s statutory rapes of Davies now Kelley Currin and he is serving a seven-year term in Maryland prison.
Judge Baeur found the Schubert defendants evidentiary objections without merit and of no moment. He denied motions for summary judgment.
News of an impending Rianda-Schubert trial coincides with investigations of USA Swimming by both Congressman George Miller of California and several federal law enforcement offices.
Next: Complete links to Concussion Inc.s coverage of Rianda v. Schubert.