USA Swimming Scandal & Lawsuits

Artistic Skaters

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The USA Swimming scandal looks like it is gathering momentum.

*** 100s of USA swimmers were sexually abused for decades and the people in charge knew and ignored it, investigation finds :

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/16/investigation-usa-swimming-ignored-sexual-abuse-for-decades/
For decades the sexual abuse of young athletes by their coaches lingered just beneath the surface in American swimming’s otherwise golden waters. In 2005, USA Swimming president Ron Van Pool decided it was time to bring the issue to the surface. Giving his annual State of Swimming address, Van Pool pushed for a more aggressive approach within the sport to taking on sexual abuse.

“USA Swimming is frightfully behind the curve in this process and there are those who would have us continue to lag,” Van Pool said.

The speech, however, didn’t make much of an impression with Chuck Wielgus, then in his eighth year as USA Swimming’s executive director.

“There was nothing that struck me,” Wielgus said later in deposition.
I am familiar with the case regarding Rick Curl & the Curl-Burke Swim Club because Amy Shipley reported about it in the Washington Post, but it looks like it's another breakdown in leadership at the highest levels, just like gymnastics. Likewise in that case, U MD was accused of not properly reporting Curl.

*** Curl-Burke founder Rick Curl faces hearing on former swimmer’s account of underage sexual relationship in 1980s :
https://www.washingtonpost.com/spor...usa-swimming/2012/07/25/gJQAg78q8W_story.html
Prominent Washington area swimming coach Rick Curl took a leave of absence from the club he founded Wednesday in the wake of accusations that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a teen swimmer and then paid her and her parents to keep quiet as part of a settlement.
*** Ex-swimming coach Rick Curl gets 7 years in child sex abuse case :
https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...0320f2-c3a5-11e2-9fe2-6ee52d0eb7c1_story.html
Former D.C. area swimming coach Rick Curl was sentenced to seven years in prison for child sexual abuse at a hearing Thursday that also featured a revelation from Curl’s attorney that the University of Maryland knew about the abuse more than 25 years ago.
So many similarities & now reckoning day is near for USA Swimming.
 
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misskarne

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Oh my god. That's horrible.

Time for some questions to be asked of the USOC, too, now that this is two sports under their purview that this has happened in.
 

skatingguy

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There is no reason to believe that this hasn't happened, is happening, in every aspect of life in which adults are trusted with young children. We just have too many examples from churches, schools, and sports.
 

ToFarAwayTimes

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People are monsters. I think there will be more than just US Gymnastics and US Swimming. Probably more abuse cases under the umbrella of USOC. The more power and money and less accountability people and organizations have, the more these kinds of evil not only happen, but they are covered up and allowed to grow out of control.
 

Artistic Skaters

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*** USA Swimming Board of Directors Athlete Statement Regarding Recent Media Coverage :
https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.c...atement-to-usa-swimming-on-sexual-misconduct/

*** We Should Have Seen the USA Swimming Sexual Abuse Allegations Coming :
https://www.glamour.com/story/we-should-have-seen-the-usa-swimming-allegations-coming
As someone who competed for 11 years at the national level, I can tell you that as much as I loved swimming, I also hated it. Nearly every coach I came across with a reputation for being one of the best was also incredibly mean. Not just “makes you swim hard” mean, but yelling, cursing, throwing kickboards at children in the water mean. These coaches were also known to weigh female swimmers in front of each other, or make comments about their bodies (pointing out thigh size, for example, or the effects of puberty). With over 20 hours in the pool a week, in a setting where pushing yourself so hard you throw up is seen as a sign of a “good” practice, boundaries can be blurry or scarcely exist.
 

clairecloutier

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The USA Swimming scandal looks like it is gathering momentum.

*** 100s of USA swimmers were sexually abused for decades and the people in charge knew and ignored it, investigation finds :
https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/16/investigation-usa-swimming-ignored-sexual-abuse-for-decades/

I read this article last night and was shocked and disgusted. It's hard to believe that the culture of abuse was so widespread that the U.S. Swimming federation didn't even care and even was willing to admit they didn't care (in the form of saying it wasn't their priority to ensure a safe environment for the athletes).

Not to be overdramatic, but cases like this really do shake your faith in humanity. It seems everywhere we turn these days, we find men in power who have used their position to take advantage of women and girls sexually. And who seem to have absolutely no remorse or compunction about doing so. It's really quite horrifying. Where do these people come from? Why do they think what they're doing is okay??

Not that women in power are always so much better or immune to abusing their position. It just seems their abuses are more likely to involve cruelty or psychological abuse, a la Marta Karolyi, rather than sexual abuse.

Particularly as a parent, it's very disturbing to read. As your kids get older, they naturally want more independence, and you want to give it to them. But it's hard, knowing all this. :(

ETA: Between this & the gymnastics scandal, USOC's role in all this absolutely should be looked at, and they probably need new leadership there IMO.
 

Aceon6

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So it could be a systemic issue within the USOC? Systemic abuse and failures?
Systemic where young people with talent are placed under the direction of creeps. It’s hapoened in junior hockey, gymnastics, swimming, and softball. Until every creep is forced out of coaching, it will continue.
 

Artistic Skaters

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*** DeSantis: SafeSport Needs ‘Absolute Transparency’ :
https://swimswam.com/desantis-safesport-needs-absolute-transparency/
“First off, I believe that we need to re-conceive what an NGB [National Governing Body] is,” DeSantis wrote to us. “The Ted Stevens Amateur sports act is 40 years old, and it was written at a time culturally when we did a terrible job of identifying and punishing sexually abusive or otherwise abusive behavior.

“If you look in the Amateur Sports Act, it basically has nothing to say about Athlete well-being. And USA Swimming was not founded on the idea of Athlete well-being.

“Any new effort needs to start with this value first: kids should be safe and have a good experience doing sport. That should be loud and clear from the top down that medals and results are not our mission. USA Swimming should be primarily concerned with kids (an overwhelming number of our competitive members are kids) being safe and having a good time participating in the sport of swimming.”

DeSantis advocates the entire rebuilding of national governing bodies on that principle of athlete welfare – and that NGBs as they are currently established should be entirely removed from the investigation process.
 

Artistic Skaters

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*** Former world champion sues over alleged cover-up of sexual abuse by USA Swimming :
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2...sexual-abuse-allegations-lawsuit-usa-swimming
Kukors Smith filed the lawsuit in Orange County, California. She alleges Sean Hutchison, who began coaching her at a swim club near Seattle, groomed her for sexual abuse when she was 13, started touching and kissing her when she was 16 and engaging in sexual activity with her when she was 17. Kukors Smith is also suing longtime Olympic coach Mark Schubert, saying he failed to report “a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or endangerment.”

Kukors Smith, the 2009 world champion in the 200m individual medley, told reporters that “by doing nothing,” USA Swimming “enabled Sean Hutchison to abuse me for a decade.” Hutchison has denied the allegations and has not been charged with a crime.
 

Artistic Skaters

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*** Former Olympian says Team USA swimming coaches Sean Hutchison and Bob Bowman sent her inappropriate texts :
https://www.ocregister.com/2018/07/...-and-bob-bowman-sent-her-inappropriate-texts/
On the evening of May 16, 2011, Caroline Burckle, a former Olympic swimming medalist, was at home in the Los Angeles area when she began receiving a series of sexually graphic text messages and a voice mail on her cell phone, according to a USA Swimming letter obtained by the Southern California News Group.

“They were so aggressive,” Burckle recalled this week, referring to the messages.

The texts were from U.S. national team coaches Sean Hutchison and Bob Bowman and were sent from a phone that belonged to Bowman, the longtime coach of 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Burckle confirmed in an interview with the the Southern California News Group.
Burckle with Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Soni co-founded in 2015 Rise Athletes, a mentoring program for young athletes. Her decision to come forward about the Hutchison and Bowman incident was driven in part by her desire to set an example for those young athletes.

“We’re all about empowering the next generation of young athletes,” she said. “We want them to feel safe and empowered in their sport.”
In a related sport, there is also this lawsuit in the news about OSU & USA Diving.

*** 'You owe me this': Indianapolis-based USA Diving accused of ignoring alleged sexual abuse of divers :
https://www.indystar.com/story/news...awsuit-usa-gymnastics-usa-swimming/787523002/

A class action lawsuit against Indianapolis-based USA Diving accuses the national governing body of ignoring or obstructing sexual abuse allegations, including at least one allegation made by a former Indiana University diver.

Attorney John Little, who filed the lawsuit, said in an interview with IndyStar that other divers have come forward and "this is just the beginning for USA Diving." He described the situation in USA Diving as "worse than gymnastics, worse than swimming."

Two former divers are named in the lawsuit accusing coach Will Bohonyi, a former Indiana University diver, of coercing and forcing them into frequent sex. IndyStar typically does not name alleged sexual assault victims.
During a meet in August 2014 in Knoxville, Tenn., the girl's teammate informed the head coach of the Ohio State Diving Club about the abuse, the lawsuit alleges. The girl, who had just turned 17, was sent home. Bohonyi stayed.
 
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ilovepaydays

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My God - USA Swimming has messes to deal with this weekend during Nationals. I believe finals coverage on the Olympic Channel starting tomorrow night.
 

Artistic Skaters

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There is a new lawsuit against USA Diving.

*** Harvard diving coach with Ohio State ties accused of sexual misconduct :
https://www.dispatch.com/news/20181...-ohio-state-ties-accused-of-sexual-misconduct
Harvard University’s diving coach, who previously worked as an assistant coach at Ohio State, has been accused of soliciting female athletes at an Indiana diving camp for nude photos and sending them photos of himself.

Chris Heaton is among the instructors described in a class-action suit filed Sunday in Indianapolis federal court against USA Diving, the sport’s governing body. Harvard officials placed Heaton on leave Tuesday pending a university review.

The lawsuit claims that the athletes at Ripfest Diving, a camp for competitive divers, complained in 2015 that Heaton was soliciting them for the photos and sending them pictures. The women say program officials dismissed the complaints at the time.
 

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