by Irvin Muchnick
As noted in the previous post, legendary swimming coach Jack Nelson has died at 82.
In 2007 the New Times weekly of Broward and Palm Beach Counties in South Florida published a cover story detailing the allegations of celebrity open water swimmer Diana Nyad that she was repeatedly raped by Nelson, her coach in Fort Lauderdale, when she was an early teen. Nyads charges were raised in various forums as long ago as 1989, and most recently in a lengthy profile earlier this year in The New Yorker. The New Times online story on Nelsons death notes this aspect of his legacy: http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2014/11/famed_swim_coach_jack_nelson_dies.php.
The articles on Nelsons death at the site of Swimming World magazine and at SwimSwam.com do not mention Nyad.
In his July 9, 2014, letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Congressman George Miller footnoted New Times cover story in June of this year, which cited Concussion Inc.s reporting of abuses and cover-ups at Nelsons Fort Lauderdale Swim Team in the early 2000’s. The footnote stated that allegations of sexual abuse against Alexandre Pussieldi were improperly investigated for fear of bad publicity. In the body of the letter, Miller wrote:
Journalists reporting of [a 2012 complaint against Pussieldi] led to the public surfacing of a 2004 complaint against the same coach by a minor swimmer, which alleged that the coach had videotaped the complaining minor and other underage swimmers in the bathroom during a period of time during which the underage swimmers resided in the coachs home; that the coach possessed child pornography on his computer; and that he had videos of his own sex acts with underage boys.
The original 2004 complaint, which was triggered by the coachs physical attack on the swimmer in question, led to investigations by USA Swimming and the local police, as well as the coachs resignation from the Fort Lauderdale swim team. At the time, the Fort Lauderdale police cleared and closed the case, following an investigation and intense lobbying on the coachs behalf by the Fort Lauderdale swim team and others.
USA Swimming suspended the coach for three months and placed him on probation for a year.
USA Swimming, however, did not address the videotaping, child sexual abuse, and child pornography allegations, and to date, the organization has neither commented on, nor acted on, that information. Regrettably, the coach was subsequently hired by other private schools, When this matter began receiving attention again in the spring of 2014 after the new 2012 allegations surfaced, police re-opened the 2004 case.