Swimming in the U.S. Under Fire From ABC News, USA Swimming Responds -- April 9, 2010

PHOENIX, Arizona, April 9. LATER this evening, ABC News will air an "Inside USA Swimming" piece entitled "Secrets and Betrayal" on its television program 20/20. The report addresses the fact that 36 coaches have been banned for life from USA Swimming during the past 10 years "due to sexual misconduct with teenagers they coached."

After reading the ABC News article about the 20/20 report, it is apparent that ABC News is drawing a direct link to what has happened in the sport of swimming in the United States to the issues that have ravaged the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse. For specific information, including some of the specific people involved in the report and the lawsuit currently going against USA Swimming, please click the link to the article above.

In advance of tonight's airing of 20/20, Swimming World had an exclusive interview with USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus regarding the ABC News article and the 20/20 episode. Additionally, we spoke with Wielgus regarding the wide-ranging issues of sexual abuse in the U.S. as well as the abuse that has been reported in the sport.

One point of contention that Wielgus had regarding the ABC News article is the following exchange:

"Thirty six does seem like a whole lot. A hundred is even more. Five hundred is even more," he told correspondent Brian Ross.

Asked if he had apologized to any of the young teen victims, Wielgus responded, "You feel I need to apologize to them?"

He added, "I think it's unfair for you to ask me whether individually or me as the representative of an organization to apologize for something when all we are trying to do is everything we possibly can to create a safe and healthy environment for kids who are participating in our particular activity."

When asked about his initial thoughts on the ABC News article and the 20/20 episode preview, Wielgus told Swimming World:

"It is hard to make a definite statement until after watching the show tonight. What I can tell you is that the interview was very aggressive. The thing that concerned me about the article was the way it ended. It ended with me making a statement that was accurate, but it was not portrayed in the context in which it happened in the interview. [The way that specific quote was used] makes me uncomfortable. It does not reflect the attitude I portrayed throughout the course of the interview."

"I think there is a huge distinction between USA Swimming and the Catholic Church that has been missed so far [in reporting]," Wielgus told Swimming World. "That distinction is that USA Swimming has never done anything to try to hide or shield coaches who have conducted themselves inappropriately. To the contrary, we have asked that coaches be reported. When they are reported, we immediately turn that information over to our legal counsel and seek to banish these coaches from the sport. That's not what the catholic priests have done. They have hidden, transferred and protected [sexual offenders]."

In response to Swimming World's follow up question about USA Swimming's process to help assure sexual offenders are eliminated from the sport, Wielgus explained the following:

"Anyone can file a complaint. You do not need to be a member of USA Swimming to file a complaint against a member. According to our procedures, any complaint that has to do with sexual misconduct immediately comes to my office and I immediately turn that over to our legal counsel. They then launch an investigation to determine whether or not they can substantiate and validate a complaint. If they cannot validate the complaint, then it essentially dies there. If they can validate it, then we ask for a national board of review and we always, in bringing a sexual misconduct case forward to the board of review, seek to have the coach suspended for life from USA Swimming membership. Sometimes, an individual will say that they do not want to go to a board of review and will accept a lifetime ban. We will agree to that."

We then asked Wielgus whether USA Swimming reports these cases to the authorities, especially those coaches that have accepted a more private lifetime ban, and Wielgus said:

"Not necessarily. Whenever someone files a complaint, we encourage them to go to the local authorities. First and foremost, these are criminal acts and should be reported to the police. We are, however, looking at a couple of things [to put into place going forward]. We are looking at setting up an anonymous hotline. Anyone who is frightened about talking to parents or to anyone else, they can share that information to us through an anonymous hotline that would be transferred to the police. Also, we are studying the feasibility and legality of establishing a black list where we would publish the names of individuals who have been banned for life from USA Swimming for sexual misconduct so that other youth organizations could see that list."

While the beginning of our interview with Wielgus focused on what USA Swimming does when sexual abuse has already happened, we then shifted to what USA Swimming can do to help eliminate it from happening in the first place.

One suggestion that has been making the rounds in the swimming blogosphere, mostly championed by Tony Austin at the Southern California Aquatics Blog, ever since news first broke about the lawsuit against USA Swimming regarding these issues is for the national governing body to apply some of the policies in place in the Boy Scouts. The two primary points are that there would be no one-on-one meetings and zero physical contact allowed between a swimming coach and a minor. The two things a pedophile needs to prey on a child are privacy and the ability to touch. If these two items were adopted the red flags would go up as soon as possible within the potential molestation process.

We asked Wielgus specifically about these two points as well as what USA Swimming is working on going forward to help stop sexual abuse in the sport:

"We are looking at what other youth organizations are doing, and what they have in place that we could apply to USA Swimming. It is a little too early to commit to those two specific things, and say we are going to implement those. However, I would say that those are on the table for us to study and consider among other things."

We closed the conversation with Wielgus tonight asking him what he thought was USA Swimming's role in trying to eradicate sexual abuse in the country:

"It is definitely a societal problem. It is USA Swimming's role to help raise the awareness of this problem to do everything we can to educate our membership, and to encourage reporting [abuse] to police as well as USA Swimming. We need to continually evaluate the safeguards and guidelines that we have in place for our coaches and athlete members. With all of that said, I still think that the parents and club leaders at the local level are better positioned to make sure the pool deck is as safe, healthy and wholesome as it can be. USA swimming can do whatever we can, but it is at the club level where the real supervision has to take place."

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April 9, 2010 Wow! Chuck, pass the buck quick. I haven't even seen it yet, but he has. He sounds very paranoid of how he is going to be betrayed. I can not wait,boy they worked long and hard on this statement.
Submitted by: swimfan3
April 9, 2010 just to let you know that it happens outside the usa swimming. i was fifteen when my utah high school swim coach took advantage of me....27 years ago. i was on his swim team as a freshman,became his baysitter,he would get me drunk and have sex with me. there was never any adults around to witness his advances or to help me. he lured me in, told me how beautiful i was,what a great swimmer i was,allowed me to do whatever i wanted to do on the team, he would have me go get the kickboards with him in a closet so he could touch and kiss me. no one ever told me that they knew about it or could see it happening.
i was glad to see that 20/20 aired this program to bring it to the forefront. hopefully it will help other parents to be more active and visible with their child and their childs sport activities.

Submitted by: o.h.s.
April 9, 2010 I watched this 'report' and found it very biased. USA swimming does not hire these local coaches or oversee these programs. It is up to the local groups to supervise the programs. A few of these have happened in Indiana, which was overemphasized.

I think Chuck Wielgus was correct that USA swimming does not owe an apology to these abused swimmers as they are not in charge. I am sure he feels bad for them.

Where are the parents in these cases?? Do they not bear any responsibility.

One again ABC news has sensationalized a story for their own benefit. David Westin, president of ABC News, should really look into the journalistic integrity of his staff.

Yes, I grew up with David Westin and knew him as a college student.
Submitted by: Peter Bick
April 9, 2010 I don't care if Chuck's comment was taken out of context. When you are the leader of an organization, whether you like it or not, you apologize for transgressions under your organization's umbrella. Everyone understands he isn't the one responsible for hiring or overseeing every coach in America, but that's the typical USA Swimming higher-ups arrogance shining through. Arrogance is such a pervasive trait amongst USA Swimming and it starts at the top.
Submitted by: fl_coach
April 9, 2010 Chuck Wielgus needs to resign, stat. You and your group let coaches victimize innocents, then arrogantly refuse to apologize for the perverted behavior. Or would Swimming World and USA Swimming rather hide their heads like the Catholic Church has (because no matter how Swimming World wants to spin it, there are a LOT of similarities between the scandals)?

The story spins itself. USA Swimming comes off insensitive at best, and arrogant at worst, to act so nonchalantly and so arrogant about such widespread abuse.
Submitted by: trmjr
April 10, 2010 I was absolutely shocked when he said "you want ME to apologize as the head of USA swimming." He needs to resign. My husband said if this was a major sport in America, that he would be gone by noon today and the media would eat him alive.
Submitted by: swimfan3
April 10, 2010 This publication should be ashamed, being as dismissive of child rape and molestation as Mr Weilgus. Of course he owes these young girls an apology.

Does he know how serious child molesation is? Obviously not. Maybe he should speak to a few of the victims and see how their life has been forever altered...for the worse.

Submitted by: bearadi
April 10, 2010 I have a suggestion for USA Swimming. Create an entirely new and independent intity to investigate and hear cases of abuse by coaches, officials etc. The USA Swimming hearing about the abuses of coach Don King(oregon coach) was a farce. 1)The panel consisted of lay volunteer memebers of USA Swimming with no expertise in legal or sexual abuse matters 2) Even though the victims were all female the panel was all male 3) Two panel members were coaches (hardly unbiased don't ya think). 4)The victims were not allowed legal counsel during the testimony. 5) One coach panel member immediately created a friendly repoir with the accused before hearing the womens testimony. Fortunately Mr. Kings attorney threw in the towel after the first victim testified. I shutter to think what conclusion the panel would have come to.

Mr. King has been abusing for 30 years as a coach with USA Swimming. He is not repentent and also will not apologize to his victims and is still free to abuse again.
Submitted by: loshame
April 10, 2010 I am Tony Austin - I write the SCAQ blog. I have been on the forefront of this issue for some time. I am the one that suggested the Boy Scouts of America policy referenced above.

Please realize that USA Swimming is a governing body that certifies swim clubs. The argument here is: What can USA Swimming do to make swimming as safe, and as fun, as possible?

Please realize that that 'Swimming World' is simply trying to state that well over 99% of US coaches are decent people. 'Swimming World' obviously does condone destructive behavior nor did they try to lessen it. They wanted to point out it is a safe activity. This article simply states that USA Swimming is not a "spawning ground" of child sexual abuse but rather that it is overwhelmingly safe despite being a potential venue for such behavior.

When I was researching policies on how to create a child protection process that would make swimming with a USA Swimming affiliated club as "bulletproof" as possible, I ran across a site called - this site chronicles teacher sexual abuse stories so often and so regularly that you would think they should have a security guard in every classroom.

The bottom line is the Latin phrase: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? "Who watches the watchmen" and the answer is "we watch the watchmen" and that is why I suggested the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) policy which has a parent at every BSA outing, meeting, and event as a way to make the process even more safe.

To gain momentum and attention, I chronicled the King lawsuit, I chronicled the arrests, and when I was contacted by a producer at ABC, I made it clear that the goal here should be to encourage USA Swimming to adopt better policies and take responsibilities for past mistakes. (By the way, I refused to do an interview.)

The fact that USA Swimming is considering all options now is not just a positive sign but they may be taking a leadership role in child protection and they could use your help.

I suggest everyone use this anger as a inspirational tool and go to, use the contact page and suggest your own child protection policy ideas. Use this anger to "out think" the "pedos" and suggest a policy that rocks!

Submitted by: Groovydoo
April 10, 2010 It's silly to expect Chuck Wielgus to apologize for this. What, exactly, does he have to apologize for? There doesn't seem to be anything that USASwimming as an organization has done wrong, and that's all he could apologize for.

Now if it is discovered that USASwimming knew about systematic abuse and did nothing about it, whole different story. But that doesn't appear to be the case here.
Submitted by: Sphere
April 10, 2010 Reply to Sphere.

Well it is yet to be seen if USA Swimming has known about abuse cases without pursuing them. In the Don King case 3 brave women had to badger USA Swimming for a year to hold a hearing on the abuses of Don King. After the hearing USA Swimming was not interested in talking about the abuses and kept it might quiet. I think we should ask the responsible people at USA Swimming if they notified any clubs about abusive coaches. Maybe there are girls and women who have been abused by these coaches that would like to know that someone in the organization cares about their pain and the life-time required to live with the knowledge that their dignity and trust was violated by an official sanctioned by USA Swimming.
Submitted by: loshame
April 11, 2010 My comment is this: Parents, if your child is abused by anyone (coach, priest, teacher, neighbor) do not contact that person's employer, do not contact that person's governing body...CALL THE POLICE. The fault for all abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of the abusers. Get them off the street, not just out of the sport - call the police.
Submitted by: jeparkey
April 11, 2010 You are right Jeparky. School districts will ignore warnings and fail to notify the police themselves. However, if you notify the police of a small town that wants to protect the school districts reputation and the reputations of their rich community, they probably will not help you either. When Don King was arrested because he had been videotaped inappropriately touching young swim students the local police totally bungled the investigation. When Mr. King interviewed with the local police he told the police that he thought of his students as "eye candy". Yet the police failed to search his home for pornographic or material evidence of his propensity for looking at children.
Mr. Kings attorneys outsmarted the police and he is still free to abuse. When you notify the police also notify your district attorney and get an attorney of your own to make sure that the police pursue the abuser. Do you know that 90 of rape kits taken after women are abused are never processed by police departments. May sure you yourself or your attorney follow up it your child is molested and reports it to the police and is tested for semen.
Submitted by: loshame
April 11, 2010 Sphere is not even from this planet. If this was a major sport heads would already be rolling, but it's not it's just swimming. Time will tell, but I believe this will give other people that have been abused in some way in swimming to come forward. What creeps me out still is when the tape was played of Chuck Weigus saying were getting calls weekly, and he looked down in shame and shock. Yes, this is just the beginning. Please people don't be afaid to speak out!
Submitted by: swimfan3
April 11, 2010 Oh, come on! If USA swimming and their leaders owe an apology to these abused swimmers, then maybe the President of the United States should apologize to the victims of criminals in the USA, and the leaders of UN should apologize the victims of any wars around the world. This is probbly the most stupid thing I ever heard!
Submitted by: Xue
April 11, 2010 This is obviously an emotional issue; it's tempting to get into emotional arguments and recriminations. But rather than argue with each other, let's take Tony Austin/Groovydoo's suggestion and give our advice directly to I also agree with jeparkey, as least the part that regardless of who's involved, that the police and protective services should ALWAYS be called; though so many folks fear to do so.

Perhaps in the states that have mandated child abuse reporting laws, it should be extended to children's sports coaches. Currently in my state, teachers and medical professionals (my field), among others are mandated by law to report any known or suspected child abuse, including that perpetrated by colleauges, to protective services. While professionals still sometimes "cover" for and protect each other, overall it has drastically reduced the incidence of sexual abuse in those fields, and increased reporting. Coaches need to know that other coaches are watching too.
Submitted by: liquidassets
April 11, 2010 Boy, do I agree with the last comment about demanding that the state agencies that investigate abuse by teaches include coaches who do not have a degree in teaching but are hired by the school district to teach swimming.
Submitted by: loshame
April 11, 2010 If Chuck Wielgus had any brains, he NEVER would have agreed to be interviewed on national TV in the first place.

This man is dumber than a fencepost.

Congratulations on portraying the great sport of swimming as one infiltrated with perverts and molesters.

I was embarrassed for him, his family and his organization. He should resign immediately. He is not fit to run USA swimming.
Submitted by: WEK5000
April 11, 2010 Besides USA itself there are swim clubs that don't want to hear about abuse. When asked if the Lake Oswego swim club was going to speak to their members after finding out about Don King the head of the club said "well,he doesn't coach for us" then they called the police and said "this crazy woman just called me". This although Don King was a life quard also and around the members of the LO swim club all the time.
Submitted by: loshame
April 12, 2010 I'm from a different planet? Look, I don't know why you all want to totally skewer this guy so badly based on nothing. I'm not saying this Don King guy doesn't deserve to go to jail, he most certainly does, but what does this have to do with Chuck Wielgus? Xue's comment is correct here... if I robbed a store, would you ask Obama to resign because I'm a citizen? It's really not that different a situation, USASwimming broadly oversees swim clubs but it doesn't micromanage them, it doesn't even macromanage them, at least none of the clubs that I've known, am aware of, or have participated in.

The USASwimming organization neither claims, to nor wishes to, nor should have this level of oversight in local swim clubs. Abuse is, always has been, and should continue to be a matter for local authorities. The extent of USAS's responsibility in this issue is the background checks they run for certifying coaches. Maybe those are good, maybe they're not, but certainly it isn't their responsibility to keep track of the thousands of coaches in this country.
Submitted by: Sphere
April 12, 2010 Another followup to swimfan3, regarding "major sports." This situation would be even more ridiculous in say, something like baseball. Suppose god forbid some little league baseball coach hit a 7 year old with a baseball bat. This would be terrible. But would you really go up to Bud Selig and demand his resignation? It's a terrible offense, that coach should most certainly be removed from his job at the very least, but what does Bud Selig have to do with it?
Submitted by: Sphere
April 12, 2010 To Sphere,

Sphere, you don't get it. The smaller clubs don't want the publicity just like the larger organization and therefore say "cover my ass" with denial. Your comparison to baseball is incomplete. If 36 coaches hit kids with baseball bats and then they switched these coaches to other organizations to hit more kids with baseball bats don't you think the Bud Selig should have to apologize. Besides, do all little league coaches have to get a license to coach from the Little League Commission?

Also, USA Swimming is complicit because they make it difficult to censure the coaches. Their investigative and hearing process happens very slowly while the coach is still abusing - except if you are Michael Phelps and smoke a joint.
Submitted by: loshame
April 12, 2010 shame: "If 36 coaches hit kids with baseball bats and then they switched these coaches to other organizations..." Who is the "they" here, the smaller clubs? If so, it is most certainly the smaller clubs in question that are at fault, for knowingly allowing this to happen. I have no idea if little league coaches have to get a license, I just picked baseball cause it was the first thing that came to mind. I suppose if that isn't the case, then it's a poor example.

But what does USAS's investigative process have to do with it? Who cares how slow their process is, if meanwhile the police comes in and arrests the coach in question. USAS isn't the judicial system. They said they banned 36 coaches for life, that isn't good enough? Isn't that the extent to which they really should be involved?
Submitted by: Sphere
April 12, 2010 Sphere, were over you!
Submitted by: swimfan3
April 12, 2010 Spere, you are correct. USA Swimming did, under pressure, take away these coaches licenses. But no that isn't good enough. They reacted immediately to the Michael Phelps scandal because it might cost them their reputation and sponser money. Therefore they also need to react immediately to charges of sexual abuse by coaches they officially license. Maybe we should take that responsibility away from them all together and let an independent outside agency take care of licensing and punishing coaches.
Submitted by: loshame
April 13, 2010 Two things. First, the Phelps "scandal" was absurd on every level and it's not like USAS did anything really anyway... I'm not sure that's what you want to set as the standard.

Second, yes, they "under pressure" took away licenses. Why is that wrong or not enough? The independent agency response for punishing coaches should be the police department, and they already run checks for certification. As long as these checks work well, and people actually care strongly about USAS certification, then that's a working system.

The problem here is, as it is in all abuse cases, is that it's a hugely underreported crime. With more exposure, it will hopefully become more reported, which will be better for all people involved.

Also I disagree STRONGLY with the statement "they need to react immediately to CHARGES of sexual abuse." That is not the way the criminal justice system in this country works. Innocent until proven guilty. Of course, they need to react immediately to any instance of abuse that is beyond a reasonable doubt, but it isn't right to simply revoke a coach's license based on hearsay. (Cue more ad hominem attacks from swimfan3)
Submitted by: Sphere
April 13, 2010 No one said they should take away a coachs license on allegations of abuse. However, they should treat the victim with respect and seriously begin the investigation in a timely manner, let the parties know the steps they are taking to resolve the issue and if the charges are warranted call a hearing in a timely manner so the coach cannot continue to abuse while USA Swimming diddles. If they are a national organization and it's there responsibility to manage the license process then they should have a qualified entity (inside or outside - preferably outside) to take away that license. Also USA Swimming should not be ashamed to publish information regarding the seriousness of abuse by coaches if asked or required. In the case of Don King the charges were incredibly serious and the police were first involved but bungled the case. The only way he would ever be prevented from USA sanctioned swim events was to ask USA Swimming to revoke his license.

They diddled, provided an inept forum for their process to investigate and hear the charges and were then ashamed to talk about the case after they revoked the license.
Submitted by: loshame
April 20, 2010 How can some of you even begin to think that Chuck Wielgus is dismissive of child rape and molestation or that he is arrogant or dumb as a fencepost.
Chuck Wielgus is first and foremost a family man who cares deeply about the kids who were abused. He is extremely intelligent and humble and has done a wonderful job of running USA Swimming. Some of your comments attacking Chuck Wielgus show a complete lack of intelligence and knowledge of the facts.
Sphere you are right on the mark with your comments on the story. Chuck has no need to give an apology.

Submitted by: snyder1
May 10, 2010 Synder1, what do you think of Wielgus now after Outside the Lines???

Wielgus -
"Hindsight is 20/20. I'm not sure what more we could have done.

TJ Quinn -
"When you look at a case like Andy King, who dropped the ball?"

Wielgus -
"Its hard to point a finger at a victim, but victims have got to report these crimes. And we didn't hear of Andy King until April, 2009."

Good job, Chuck. Can you do a more lousy job of representing our sport! After your horrible 20/20 interview where Brian Ross caught you in two lies and then your unforgivable non-apology to the victims, you go on Outside the Lines and actually blame the victims for USA's history of cover-ups over the past 12 years. According to the court documents, you also were not truthful in the OTL interview about not hearing about Andy King until April of 2009. A woman named Sharon Hall emailed you about King in 2002 and you disregarded it. Chuck and others (Hogan, Schubert, etc.) in Colorado Springs need to resign for pushing their own agenda and their callous and uncaring attitute towards USA Swimming members.
Submitted by: bluemoon
May 10, 2010 Why would my opinion of Chuck change. He is a man of the utmost integrity.
You are the sad reality of our society today where you find joy in judging a person such as Chuck Wielgus without the facts. My guess is the negative comments are coming from those who have achieved nothing in their lives and feel a need to drag down those who have achieved. bluemoon you are an idiot.
Submitted by: snyder1
May 10, 2010 From the New York Times -

-USA Swimming's Code of Conduct prohibits sexual contact or advances directed toward an athlete by a coach, official, trainer or anyone in a position of authority over that athlete.

Age and consent in such relationships are irrelevant, Shoop said.

"If you are the supervisor, you don't have sex with them," he said. "That has to be clearly spelled out."

At USA Swimming, Pat Hogan, the club development division director, educates coaches and clubs about child-protection safeguards. Yet in the 1980s, Hogan became romantically involved with Julie Ginden, one of his teenage swimmers in Atlanta. They married when she was 20, and have since divorced.

"I conducted myself with complete honor and integrity in my relationship with my former wife," Hogan said. "Our relationship, which developed after she was 18 and I was a young man in my 20s, always had the full knowledge and blessing of her parents"-

Hmm...According to those that were in Atlanta and had first hand knowlege of when this relationship started. Ginden was 16 and Hogan was 29 or 30. Why is Hogan in charge of background screening?
Submitted by: rworkman
May 11, 2010 Rworkman,

Did some more research on Mr. Hogan. He lied or at worst bended the truth for the New York Times. According to this article, Hogan was 38 as of October 1980:

Which would mean he almost certainly 30 for some part of 1980, Julie Ginden's senior year of high school.

So we're not supposed to question that this guy started a relationship as a 30 year old with an 18 year old that had just concluded swimming for him in the same year she graduated high school?
Submitted by: Chris DeSantis
May 11, 2010 Sorry make that 38 as of October 1988.

Submitted by: Chris DeSantis
May 11, 2010 Because "in my 20s" sounds a lot better than "when I was 29". Since he went to a certain length to make it sound better to the press, then it sounds to me like he feels he has something he wants "played down" - obviously the age difference. So they miraculously started dating as soon as she was no longer his swimmer? Most of us aren't complete idiots although I might be a partial idiot myself. However, having him in his current position with USA-Swimming kind of reeks of a little hypocrisy, doesn't it?
Submitted by: fl_coach
May 11, 2010 And also, he makes pains to mention that her parents knew and approved. So its cool if I sleep with one of my swimmers if her parents give permission?
Submitted by: Chris DeSantis
May 11, 2010 You know, I don't want to turn this into a bash Pat Hogan discussion because that's not the point of this. The problem is USA-Swimming's good-old boy network of arrogant ego-mongers who want all the credit and none of the blame. They'll twist words and shift responsibility when they need to. But to counter Mr. Hogan's statement - his relationship with the swimmer started when she became his swimmer, not after she was 18. And because of that, the "romantic" piece of the relationship probably should have never happened. This wasn't a grad student coaching a D-3 school that hit it off with one of the Freshmen.
Submitted by: fl_coach
May 11, 2010 Glad to see people are still responding on this site as more and more information comes out about USA Swimming's tarnished reputation. This is just the tip of the ice berg about their lying, incompetency, their cowardess. I think everyone should continue a campaign to dethrone Wielgus, to expose abusive coaches and those authorities trying to bend the truth or deny complicity.

Submitted by: loshame
May 11, 2010 If you're a Olympic Gold medalist and champion like Deena Deardurff, here's an example of how you're treated by our National Governing Body if you report sexual abuse. Report the coach, get ignored for years, call a press conference, get no apology and then get ripped apart in a deposition by USA Swimming's lawyers.

Another one of Chuck Wielgus' "highlights" from the ESPN Outside The Lines Report -

TJ Quinn -
"When she (Deena Deardurff Schmidt) tried to pass along the name of the coach that molested her to the organization (USA Swimming) years ago, she was told that she couldn't file a complaint because she wasn't an active member."

TJ Quinn (to Wielgus) -
"After her press conference, you didn't reach out?"

Wielgus (with a smirk on his face) -
"No, I did not."

TJ Quinn -
"Why not call her and say what is this? Who is the coach? What can we do?

Wielgus -
"Well...I wish she would file a complaint, but..."

TJ Quinn -
"She had a press conference. That's a pretty public complaint if you want to call it that. Why do you have to wait for a piece of paper to initiate an investigation? "

Wielgus (smirking again!) -
"Well, I would like for her to name a name. Ideally, she should name a name and go to the police. If she will name a name to us, we'll go to the police, but."

TJ Quinn -
"But you haven't called her and asked her?"

Wielgus (still smirking!) -
"I have not called her and asked her."

TJ Quinn -
"Should you have?"

Wielgus (smirking) -
"In retrospect, I guess the answer to that question would be yes. But if I were to call somebody every time I heard a rumor..."
TJ Quinn -
"That's not a rumor. That's an Olympic champion giving a press conference saying she was not only abused..."

Wielgus -
"A rumor about a name."

TJ -
"Yes, but I'm saying that does not seem like a sign to somebody that the organization has become more proactive. What does it say to you?"

Wielgus (smirking) -
"Sounds like I should call her up and talk to her."

After the ESPN interview, Wielgus sent Deardurff an unapologetic letter that Deardurff claimed was too little, too late. A few days later, Deardurff was summoned by USA Swimming's lawyers for a deposition. I guess this is Chuck Wielgus' idea of showing compassion for a victim!

Make no mistake about it, Chuck Wielgus and others that work at USA Swimming know exactly who the coach that abused Deena is. Anybody that has been a part of the sport or a follower can easily figure that out.

This is no way to treat any athlete (former or current), let alone an Olympic Champion!

Submitted by: bluemoon
May 11, 2010 Bluemoon,

How do you have this information on Deardurff and the deposition?
Submitted by: Chris DeSantis
May 11, 2010 Bluemoon

What is your agenda?
You have no idea what Chuck Wielgus is about. Have you ever meet the man? Have you ever talked to Chuck? Do you know his values?
bluemoon you are pathetic as is loshame.
This cracks me up that I am replying to idiots but this is the culture we live in.
Do you people know the structure of USA Swimming? Do you know that Chuck has no contact with the thousands of swim coaches? Next time there is a sex crime in the U.S. maybe you should write President Obama and blame him and ask for for him to step down.

Submitted by: snyder1
May 13, 2010 Re: Bluemoon

What is your agenda so adamantly defending Wielgus. I don't personally know Wielgus but he represents and holds an executive position at USA Swimming and therefore cannot "pass the buck" to the victims. He should be overseeing the organization and its handling of sexual abuse accusations. I personally have experience with USA swimming and a sexual abuse case with 5 former swimmers coming forward with information about an abusive coach. Only after continued pressure from the women concerned and myself did USA Swimming finally call a hearing against this coach. The panel hearing the information was a volunteer lay committee with no exertise concerning sexual abuse matters and composed of two male coaches(oh sure, they are unbiased of course).

So Blueblood are you Wielgus relative or something? And if you have to resort to calling people idiots why should we take your defense of Wielgus seriously.
Have you had any experience reporting sexual abuse by a coach to USA Swimming?
If not how do you know they are innocent of ignoring those reports?
Submitted by: loshame
May 14, 2010 According to the San Jose Mercury News, Hogan admitted in a deposition a couple months ago that he started having liasons with Ginden when she was 17-years-old.

Our membership dues are paying this man's, and others, salary!
Submitted by: rworkman
May 14, 2010 Snyder1, I'm sorry but the fact that Wielgus arrogantly lives in his Ivory Tower in Colorado Springs and is out of touch with coaches and the general membership is not the fault of victims or his critics. While he has earned money and raised the visibility of the sport, the level of corruption of the board and his staff is unacceptable. It is my understanding that there could be 8-10 more lawsuits by the end of the year. I guarantee you that what has already come out has just scratched the surface of the cover-ups of this scandal. Even if your arguement is that Chuck is not to blame because he has no contact with thousands of coaches, the fact that he has appeared on two national television shows and made himself look like and uneducated and unsympathetic buffoon does not inspire trust and confidence in the membership.
Submitted by: rworkman
May 14, 2010 Is there a link to the San Jose Mercury News article that covers Hogan's deposition?
Submitted by: Chris DeSantis
May 14, 2010 rworkman, you really should provide the link for that if you saw the article. If that is the case then he should be fired immediately. I question this fact because I think USA-S would have taken care of that.. but then again it is USA-S so who knows?

You know, looking at both sides of the Mr. Wielgus issue - yes he's arrogant as are many of the USA-S higher-ups, but I understand the folks who say he can't be held responsible for local clubs' failures. However, he must take responsibility for the governing body's inaction and maybe their dismissive responses towards allegations, but the issue need to be brought to the authorities attention first and foremost, then to USA-S.

The biggest shame is that they let the situation get so out of control, shoddy sensationalist journalism notwithstanding, and it paints all wim coaches in a negative light and quite frankly that's not fair. I think the coaches of USA-S deserve an apology as well as the victims.

And touching on the Deena Dearduff situation - if she was so-called dismissive of Chuck's effort to reach out to her, albeit after the fact, shame on her. It was a chance to have a fresh start, and get to some issues. I question her motives myself. She's an overactive Title IX proponent with an anti-male bias. How many other swimmers of her former coach have stepped forward with her to levy accusations? We live in a world where the accusation is as bad as the crime, and you can really take someone down if you have a score you're looking to settle.
Submitted by: fl_coach
May 16, 2010 This crime is still under-reported. Throughout my swimming career, rumors of sexual indiscretions swirled around certain highly ranked coaches, but no victims came forward.
Submitted by: fluidg
May 16, 2010 Re: Chris de Santis

What is an overactive title IX person. It is really too bad that title IX, which was initially created to open up sports to women, has been taken highjacked by abusive coaches in all sports. Unfortunately we are now seeing the results of all the young girls who were thrown into the hands (literally) of male coaches and subsequently abused.
Title IX was supposed to help young women gain parity in sports. It is so sad that that seems to be impossible. We are still in the middle ages about dealing with sexual abuse.

And all those people who think if women and naive young girls will be given justice if they only immediately report abuse you have another think coming. There was recently a national report that stated that 90 of all rape kits taken from women after they have been raped are never processed by police departments unless the victim (who is already traumatized) hires an attorney to force the police department to process the kit. The women assume the police department is doing their job while the evidence lies dormant in police department archives.
Submitted by: loshame
May 16, 2010 It's not at all surprising that it's underreported when the response is often to blame or not believe the victim, as some on here have done, or to not respond at all. Across the board, only about 3-5% of allegations of sexual abuse turn out to be false, and even among those, some are from folks who have been abused but they report the wrong perpetrator due to fear or young age at the time of abuse. It's true that you could take someone down if you wanted, but it's much more likely that Deardurff is honest, as at least 95% of the time that's the case, and that figure obviously doesn't include the vast numbers that go unreported due to fear, if it did, the figure would probably be very close to 100%. And if you wanted to settle a score with someone, there are less painful, humiliating and potentially expensive ways to do so than to falsely accuse them of sexual abuse.
Submitted by: liquidassets
May 16, 2010 Deena is definitely not an over-reactive Title IX person. She sued (and won) San Diego State because of an idiot Athletic Director that hated swimming and tried to screw the program. The AD, Jeff Shemmel, was later canned for using University funds to carry on an extra-marital affair with a woman in Alabama. USA Swimming and Chuck never reached out to Deena and were dismissive of her claims.

Contrary to USA Swimming's blasts (excuses) and press releases to the media, this is a cover-up of epic proportions. It will come out that Wielgus and others ignored many reports and complaints of inappropriate relationships over the years.

They only care now because it has been brought to light front and center!

Submitted by: bluemoon
May 16, 2010 I know for a fact that board members are also privately beginning to question Wielgus' leadership and have also been critical of Pat Lunsford's poor performance as the head of a sexual abuse task force that he was but in charge of by the USA Swimming BOD in a meeting early last year.
Submitted by: bluemoon
May 18, 2010 If "everyone" knew so much about this why haven't those posting their comments on this site been at the forefront pushing for reform long before this "expose"? Where were all of you in 2004 when so many spoke against tighter (and costlier) background screening. there were very few of us asking for the best possible system be put into place. Anyone who has "known of abuse" for many years and not come forward about it is a coward and a louse. I truly believe USA Swimming is making a good faith and best effort possible to correct the situation and prevent further abuse. Unfortunately we are now different then other areas of American society in that our culture of personal privacy rights and freedom allow deviants to find their way into the organization.
It is a sad situation which will not be solved by looking for scapegoats and demanding that "heads roll."
If there has been a cover-up i believe it will be discovered and dealt with properly. No one, save the aforementioned deviants, wants this to continue
Submitted by: coachmark
May 18, 2010 I respect Coach Mark's opinion immensely but I am agreeing with bluemoon that USA Swimming has been completely ineffectual on this issue and that, Chck Wielgus, who has the best intentions, is not doing us any favors with that mouth of his.

Reporting is not enough since only 5 - 10 report cases of abuse. Background screening would only net those that have a record and once they saw a BG consent form, they would either game it with a phony ID or never apply in the first place. (True, that is a deterrent but it won't catch first time offenders.)

USA Swimming is moving too slowly and they are leading from the back rather than the front on this issue. It should not take 5-months to create a stop gap. Even British Petroleum is moving faster than USA Swimming which is not saying much.
Submitted by: Groovydoo
May 18, 2010 Re: coachmark

"Anyone who has "known of abuse" for many years and not come forward about it is a coward and a louse". Gee coachmark does this include bishops and heads of organizations who have been told about sexual abuse within their ranks? In Lake Oswego Oregon a swim club and high school were warned that there was a sexual abuser working at the pool who was a coach. It was two and a half years later before he was arrested and reported to USA Swimming. It took another two years before USA Swimming took away his license and only after continued pressure from victims.
Why not call the abuser the "louse" and those "adults" who covered up for him.

Submitted by: loshame
May 18, 2010 Coach Mark is a good guy. I didn't know about Lake Oswego, Oregon, situation and perhaps Coach Mark did not either?

It is my opinion that USA Swimming moves way to slow due probably out of fear due to lawsuits and false accusation lawsuits.

You would think that a $31-million-dollar organization could buy a child protection policy form the very best legal legal ninjas there are.

I request a leadership that is faster acting in times of crisis such as this.

I also want to clarify that only 5% - 10% of the abused population report instances of abuse and that figure is for obvious reasons: Reputation, guilt, shame, regret or family politics.

Did you know that Andrew King does not feel that he did anything wrong whatsoever because his crimes were, as he put it, "consensual."

These people are so broken that there is no prescription you can write or surgery you can do to fix them at this time.

Submitted by: Groovydoo
May 19, 2010 I apologize if I came across as too harsh. I was in no way lumping the victims in with other adults who have known or claim to have known about these cases and have not acted. I would include in this any club, school or community who has protected a coach because he or she got kids to swim fast.
I do not have knowledge of the Lake Oswego case and only know that in the area where I live, actions to terminate employment and prosecute such individuals happen very swiftly. Maybe I am spoiled by that fact.
Submitted by: coachmark
May 19, 2010 The coach from LO is named Don King and his picture was on the 20/20 piece concerning USA Swimming and abusive coaches. He coached for a number of California clubs before moving to Oregon. He too has been abusing for 30 years just like Andrew King and he continues to believe he has done nothing wrong. He told the police that he looks at his swim students as "eye candy".

Unfortunately he is still free to abuse children.
Submitted by: loshame
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