Mark Schubert Faces Lawsuit For Wrongful Termination Amid Allegations of Sexual Misconduct By Another Coach - Full Complaint Available; USA Swimming Updated Response -- September 18, 2012
Updated September 18 with additional response from USA Swimming
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California, September 17. MARK Schubert is facing a lawsuit after one of his coaches alleged that she was wrongfully terminated when she brought up allegations of sexual misconduct by another coach on the Golden West Swim Club recently.
In an article by The Associated Press, Dia Rianda alleges that Schubert, the head coach of Golden West, fired her from her job as assistant coach on July 11 after she said that assistant coach Bill Jewell was engaging inappropriately with other swimmers, and was actively keeping swimmers away from Jewell. The AP article mentions that Schubert and Jewell are close friends.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Robert Allard on Rianda's behalf. Allard has brought forward many lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by coaches, which has in part prompted USA Swimming to beef up its background checks and enforce a stronger system to allow athletes to report abuse.
According the AP article, Rianda reported Jewell's alleged misconduct to USA Swimming, and though Jewell had been under investigation for more than a year, no action had been taken against him. The lawsuit goes beyond Jewell's days at Golden West, back to his time at Fullerton Aquatics, when the lawsuit alleges that Jewell and Schubert may have covered up news of sexual misconduct by FAST coach Sean Hutchison. Though Hutchison has denied any wrongdoing, he left his post at FAST and has not coached since then.
Rianda has become known in swimming circles for her large donations to USA Swimming and satellite programs, including $100,000 to the USA Swimming Foundation, according to The Associated Press.
Schubert, known for guiding athletes to the Olympic Games since his days at the Mission Viejo Nadadores since the 1970s, has been a coach at Golden West since July 2011, about a year after he was removed from his post as USA Swimming's national team director.
Though USA Swimming reported an uptick in background checks and member training since their Safe Sport program began last year, the organization remains under the shadow of a couple of very public sexual abuse allegations. In addition to the new allegations involving Jewell, news of a sexual relationship between noted coach Rick Curl and a much younger swimmer in the 1980s came to light earlier this year, news that has prompted a thorough investigation into the matter.
USA Swimming spokesperson Karen Linhart released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
USA Swimming is not a party to the lawsuit between Dia Rianda and Mark Schubert; however, because that suit makes various gratuitous accusations against USA Swimming, we will address the false premise underlying those accusations.
The resolution of the relationship between Mark Schubert and USA Swimming absolutely did not involve any cover-up of alleged sexual misconduct by Sean Hutchison or any other person. Rather, because of USA Swimming's commitment to safe sport, the agreement between USA Swimming and Mr. Schubert specifically required that if Schubert had, or in the future, received reliable information involving a sexual misconduct Code of Conduct violation by a coach or other member of USA Swimming, he would bring that information to USA Swimming in writing and would testify at a National Board of Review proceeding if requested to do so by USA Swimming.
Regarding Bill Jewell, USA Swimming cannot comment on ongoing investigations. However, as a matter of process, when USA Swimming initiates a coach investigation, it immediately notifies the employing club. As per the Amateur Sports Act, membership status cannot be affected without the opportunity for a hearing. Employment decisions during investigations are at the discretion of the employing club.