COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, June 11. IN the latest of a string of stories involving coaches being punished for sexual abuse allegations stemming back decades, Suzette Moran has now publicly alleged a consensual sexual relationship with former Florida head coach Mitch Ivey dating back to when she was 16 and Ivey was 33.
ESPN initially broke information about allegations surrounding Ivey in the early 90s when he was fired by the University of Florida. A 1993 Chicago Tribune article detailed some of the questions surrounding Ivey, including a relationship with Moran that also included a short engagement before Moran “broke off the engagement after she graduated.”
USA Swimming initially began an investigation into the potential of banning Ivey from the sport for life in 2011, when swimming blogger Tony Austin submitted a formal third-party complaint to the USA Swimming Safe Sport division. Ever since, USA Swimming claims that it has continued to investigate Ivey, with 11 separate individuals being interviewed during the process.
USA Swimming, however, claims that these interviews did not yield any first-hand knowledge of a code of conduct violation, a requirement for a case to be brought before the National Board of Review. Additionally, USA Swimming claims that none of these interviews produced contact information for anyone alleged to have first-hand knowledge of abuse. As of today, USA Swimming spokesperson Karen Linhart stated that the Mitch Ivey investigation is still open.
Earlier this week, Moran vehemently challenged the idea that an investigation into Ivey is open, and that she was hard to get in touch with as part of any investigation process. Moran has also joined Rick Curl's victim Kelly Currin in asking for a congressional investigation into USA Swimming's sexual abuse issues.
Here are the statements in full for our readers to make their own decision on who to believe:
USA Swimming has never received a formal complaint with first-hand knowledge of an inappropriate relationship related to former coach member Mitch Ivey, who has not been a member of USA Swimming since 2006. Still, based on information shared with USA Swimming about Mr. Ivey, an investigation was conducted in 2011. The investigation included interviews with 11 individuals, including former Ivey athletes, coach colleagues, and university administrators. At that time, there was not enough evidence to move forward with a National Board of Review hearing but the case remains open.
If an inappropriate relationship with an athlete took place when Mr. Ivey was a coach member of the organization, USA Swimming would encourage any individuals with first-hand information about any inappropriate conduct to come forward and share their story directly with USA Swimming's Director of Safe Sport. As part of USA Swimming's commitment to its membership, we strongly encourage anyone with information about a possible Code of Conduct violation to contact us so we can further investigate the claims. The success of our Safe Sport program relies on all of our members, past and present, working with us and being diligent about the safety of our athletes.
It has come to my attention that over the past few years USA Swimming has been investigating swim coaches for misconduct. After reading articles about various coaches, it appears that USA Swimming is having a difficult time understanding how to conduct comprehensive investigations. I was recently advised that they have cleared Mitch Ivey from any inappropriate actions. It seems that once again they have overlooked several pieces of evidence.
USA Swimming has never contacted me in regards to their investigation of Mitch Ivey. While I do not see myself as a victim, the fact remains that I started having a relationship with Mitch Ivey at 16 and it continued for several years. The relationship was consensual, and completely open to everyone in USA Swimming, family, and friends. It crossed the world of USA Swimming with the ESPN special that I appeared in back in the early 90's.
The fact that USA Swimming closed their file without trying to contact me is disturbing. It is reminiscent of the Catholic Church. I am very easily located via Facebook, Linkedin, Spokeo, Classmates, and my high school. ESPN found me through the UCLA Athletic Department. It is clear that they made no effort to locate me.
It saddens me that after all of the controversy, Mitch has made the choice to continue to coach, and a team has hired him. It concerns me that the entity who should be investigating and protecting swimmers from predators is still not doing their job, even after such coaches as Andy King and Rick Curl have been incarcerated.
I am publicly asking for Congress to step in and investigate USA Swimming.
Attorney Robert Allard also chided USA Swimming's investigation.
“There is absolutely no excuse for USA Swimming to not interview Ms. Moran,” Allard stated. “We located her with little effort. In our view, USA Swimming's leadership doesn't want to know the truth because it doesn't care about the truth. These leaders would rather boast about what have proven to us to be worthless rules and 1-800 numbers that they have developed and falsely hold themselves out as champions of sexual abuse victims. These leaders have repeatedly failed the sexual misconduct test and need to remove themselves from office. If they don't voluntarily resign, Congress should intervene and force them to. This simply has gone on for way too long.”