Chuck Wielgus Writes Open Letter to USA Swimming Members Re: Rick Curl Case

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, May 24. LESS than 24 hours after Rick Curl was sentenced seven years in prison for sexually abusing a former swimmer, USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus has posted an open letter to the membership:

Dear USA Swimming families and members,

In light of recent events, I want to take the time to address a very important topic — the safety and well-being of USA Swimming athlete members.

As some of you may or may not know, former swim coach Rick Curl was sentenced to seven years in prison yesterday. Mr. Curl was placed on the published list of Individuals Permanently Suspended or Ineligible for USA Swimming Membership in September of 2012. This action was the result of USA Swimming conducting an investigation that led to the identification of the victim in April of 2012 and our receiving a copy of the victim's previously rumored settlement agreement with Mr. Curl. USA Swimming immediately filed a police report to initiate criminal proceedings in this matter, and through our National Board of Review process, Mr. Curl's USA Swimming membership was permanently revoked.

A chronology of the investigation and review preceding is below:

Rick Curl Investigation Chronology
1. April 2011: USA Swimming receives a report from a former swimmer who had heard from his roommate that Mr. Curl had an inappropriate relationship with a minor female swimmer in the 1980s and that a confidential legal settlement had been entered into. USA Swimming initiates an investigation.

2. April 2012: USA Swimming identifies and locates Kelley Currin. USA Swimming's Director of Safe Sport contacts Ms. Currin who agrees to file a complaint. USA Swimming's investigator interviews Ms. Currin. Investigation ongoing.

3. July 23, 2012: USA Swimming initiates a petition against Mr. Curl under its rules, seeking to temporarily suspend his membership at an emergency hearing, and to permanently ban him from membership and place his name on USA Swimming's published list of Individuals Permanently Suspended or Ineligible for USA Swimming membership.

4. August 1, 2012: Mr. Curl waives his right to an emergency hearing, and his USA Swimming membership is temporarily suspended by the USA Swimming National Board of Review, pending a final hearing on the action, set for September 19, 2012.*

5. September 18, 2012: Mr. Curl informs the National Board of Review that he is: voluntarily and permanently relinquishing his USA Swimming membership; waiving his right to a final National Board of Review hearing, and accepting the sanction requested by USA Swimming.*

6. September 18, 2012: The USA Swimming National Board of Review enters an order revoking Mr. Curl's membership, permanently banning him from membership; and directing that his name be placed on USA Swimming's published list of Individuals Permanently Suspended or Ineligible for USA Swimming Membership.

*The Amateur Sports Act requires that a member be afforded the opportunity for a hearing before being declared ineligible. The right to a hearing can be waived.

Contrary to some media reports, USA Swimming first learned of Ms. (Kelley) Currin's name in April of 2011. I also did not have any firsthand knowledge of her identity until that time. Upon receiving firsthand information of her name, we then initiated an investigation to locate Ms. Currin which eventually led to our having direct contact with Ms. Currin in April of 2012.

At USA Swimming, we have the highest levels of compassion and concern for abuse victims, but we also must adhere to deliberative processes for those being accused of inappropriate conduct.

We continue to work hard to grow our Safe Sport Program. Our advancements in the areas of background checks, pre-employment screening, training and education, and com?plaint reporting have been significant. In addition, I'm proud to say that our annual House of Delegates meeting at the USA Swimming convention consistently works to evolve and strengthen the USA Swimming Code of Conduct to better address any Safe Sport-related issues.

We remain committed to responsibly and diligently addressing any issues we have within or organization and I'm proud of the good work our Safe Sport Program had done since its inception in 2010. Since that time, 36 members have been sanctioned for Code of Conduct violations, 30 of whom have been banned for life. We continue to take action to remove individuals from our sport that should not be a part of our member organization.

Finally, I would encourage you to take the time to visit our Safe Sport website to learn more details about the program and USA Swimming's commitment to providing a safe environment for all its members. The Program is a comprehensive abuse prevention initiative rooted in six core areas: Policies & Guidelines, Screening & Selection, Training & Education, Monitoring & Supervision, Recognizing, Reporting & Responding, and Grassroots Engagement & Feedback.

Thank you,

Chuck Wielgus
USA Swimming Executive Director

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