Sexual Assault Victim Sues USA Swimming For Negligence; Trial Set For This Week

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Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

An unnamed sexual assault victim has filed a lawsuit against USA Swimming for negligence that allowed Stockton Swim Club to “become a sexual hunting ground for the team’s head coach,” according to The Gazette. The trial will take place this week in California.

The girl’s lawyers, led by San Jose-based B. Robert Allard, will be questioning USA Swimming’s lack of change within the sport regarding its approach to sexual assault cases.

“USA Swimming does not seem to understand that almost 95 percent of its members are children,” Allard said. “As such, they are one of the largest child care organizations in the country and have a critically important obligation to keep kids safe, especially from predators.”

Tim Hinchey, who was hired by USA Swimming as its new CEO after Chuck Wieglus died in 2017, told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee in May 2018: “While we cannot change the past, we will learn from it, and we will do better. Our commitment to preventing child sexual abuse and providing a safe and healthy environment for our athletes is long-lasting.”

Former swim coach Shunichi Fujishima of Stockton Swim Club was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Stockton, California judge, and had pleaded guilty to sexually terrorizing an underaged girl that he coached over seven months last year. He also pleaded guilty to targeting a 13-year-old girl he coached with unlawful sexual communications for four months.

The girl, who is now 14 and remained nameless, testified last week that the ongoing sexual assaults her swim coach began inflicting on her when she was just 12 robbed her of her dreams of becoming an elite swimmer and left her with memories so horrifying she can’t imagine ever jumping in a pool and competing again, according to The Gazette.

“I feel like I am in a hole with no way out, no stairs, no light, nothing,” the girl told a judge.

The case and issues it raises made the lead item on “Brian Ross Investigates — USA Swimming Sex Scandal Widens“. A reporter approaches Tim Hinchley to ask questions about Safe Sport but the head of USA Swimming brushes him off and walks away on the grounds that he is at a function hosting people.

Brian Ross and team received no replies from USA Swimming, the program claimed:

Also, read the full report from the Gazette, click here.

USA Swimming, meanwhile, is the subject of an FBI inquiry that includes its handling of sexual abuse allegations as well as historic financial arrangements.

 

 

2 comments

  1. Rebecca Sewall Hindman

    This will probably not be the last. They failed other swimmers when anonymous statements were filed but USA Swim refused to investigate because they didn’t have direct victims. It allowed years more of abuse and this is one story I know and there are probably many more…..

  2. avatar
    John Smith

    After the resignation of Susan Woessner, USA Swimming Safe Sport has drastically decreased its efforts and care. There are 66 total clubs who have completed the recognition program and you can find more information from local swimming committee safe sport chairs and the national safe sport committee who are all volunteers.