FEDERAL WAY, Washington, February 28. THE Pacific 12 Women's Championships has been rocked with external controversy with news breaking today that Utah head coach Greg Winslow has been suspended pending investigation into sexual abuse allegations.
Courtesy of: University of Utah
Courtesy of: University of Utah
"The Athletics Department first learned of the allegations against our swim coach Greg Winslow last night," Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill told Swimming World in a statement. "While it is my understanding from an article published this morning that charges have not been filed against Coach Winslow, I feel the allegations are serious enough to suspend him immediately pending further investigation."
Hill has appointed Richard Marschner as the interim swimming and diving coach. Marschner is in his third year as Utah's diving coach and will oversee the entire squad. Winslow is currently in his sixth season as the head coach at the University of Utah. Previously, he served as the head coach at Sun Devil Aquatics starting in 2005.
News of the allegations first began making its way throughout the swimming community today after blogger Irv Muchnick posted a blog late last night stating that a police report has been filed in the alleged incident. The blog quotes an alleged victim's father, and basically identifies the alleged victim without specifically naming a name. Swimming World does not believe in identifying alleged sexual abuse victims unless they personally come forward, and that is why we will not link to the original article.
Muchnick blogs that the allegations claim that abuse happened in a locked coach's office by Winslow while he was a coach at Sun Devil Aquatics on the campus of Arizona State University when the alleged victim was 15, and continued to take place "over a period of at least two years."
Swimming World's personal investigation into the allegations reveal that former teammates of the alleged victim had heard rumors about a potential relationship that also included the two attending romantic movies together in the public eye.
USA Swimming told Swimming World today that it cannot comment about on-going investigations, but its direct statement regarding an "on-going" investigation does imply that an investigation has begun.
USA Swimming Statement
"USA Swimming is unable to comment on on-going investigations. USA Swimming takes all allegations of sexual abuse seriously and reports allegations of inappropriate conduct to the proper authorities. USA Swimming also thoroughly investigates and acts on complaints that involve its membership Code of Conduct. For more information about USA Swimming's Safe Sport program, visit www.usaswimming.org/protect.
A report is on file for a "Greg Winslow" at the Arizona State University police department, and Swimming World has put in a request for a copy. Additionally, Swimming World has been in contact with attorney Robert Allard, whose legal team represents the family involved in the allegations. Allard released the following statement.
"This heartbreaking and absolutely gut wrenching story further demonstrates the need for a drastic change in the sex abuse culture that has permeated USA Swimming for decades. The fact that a high profile a coach so brazenly engaged in such a relationship with one of his swimmers tells us that there was no fear of repercussions. Until these coaches firmly understand that there is absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior and that they will lose everything ranging from their job to their freedom if it continues, this type of sordid and sick activity will continue. Until then, tragically, we have no confidence that underage swimmers will be fully protected from predator coaches within the USA Swimming world".
The Maricopa County Attorney's office, which makes the final decision on whether to pursue criminal charges, has told Swimming World that it has now received word that the ASU campus police will be filing a submittal today according to public information officer Jerry Cobb. Until 2 p.m. local time, the Maricopa County Attorney had yet to receive word that a submittal was on its way despite reports to the contrary. That changed this afternoon.
"Once we receive the anticipated submittal, we will review it for possible formal charges," Cobb told Swimming World.
Cobb further explained to Swimming World that while the County Attorney's office does not have a deadline to file charges, it generally attempts to conclude such decisions within 30 days.
Winslow had previously been under investigation by the University of Utah for non-sexual allegations, but was cleared by the Office of Equal Opportunity on campus.
"The father of a swimmer dismissed from the team sent us a letter with some other allegations in November," Utah spokesperson Liz Abel told Swimming World. "We immediately turned it over to the Office of Equal Opportunity, which after an extensive investigation, recommended we not take any disciplinary action against Greg."
Winslow is married with two children. He met his wife while coaching her with the Falfins in Colorado.
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