USA Swimming covered up years of sexual abuse by hundreds of coaches and officials
They’ve spent millions in legal fees
by Katie Way
A report published on Friday and updated Monday finds that USA swimming not only failed to address hundreds of cases of sexual abuse between swimmers and coaches, they actively sought to cover them up.
The Southern California News Group conducted the investigation, which revealed that top executives in USA Swimming were complicit scores of sexual abuse cases and worked to hide them from the public.
In at least 11 cases either Chuck Wielgus or other top USA Swimming officials declined to pursue sexual abuse cases against high profile coaches.
— O.C. Register (@ocregister) February 16, 2018
According to the report, at least 252 swim coaches or officials have been charged with and punished for sexual abuse or misconduct against minors since 1997, with a total of at least 590 alleged victims — and that's just what's on record.
The report also shows that USA Swimming ignored allegations against high-profile coaches, even when they were directly reported. USA Swimming also had a list of 32 "flagged" coaches who'd been accused of sex crimes or assault but had only banned 6 of them from the sport.
What do you do when you hear damning information, something you can't or don't want to believe is true, about a coach you like, love, respect or simply believe creates champions? You report IMMEDIATELY to an individual or agency NOT emotionally involved. https://t.co/wYBfViKTso
— Kathy Johnson Clarke (@kathyjohnsongym) February 18, 2018
USA Swimming spent more than $75,000 lobbying against legislation in California that would have made it easier for victims of sexual abuse to sue their abusers, or the organizations associated with their abusers, in civil court.
Let me push this further. Did the annual fees that I paid for my kids the last 7-8 years go to paying off the victims??
— Just A Fan ⚾️⚽️🏊🏼 (@makboo168) February 20, 2018
According to documents obtained during the SCNG's investigation, USA Swimming spent more than $7 million in legal fees between 2006 and 2016, and actively resisted efforts to out and fire abusers or reform the pervasive culture of sexual assault and abuse within the sport.
The report span decades, and it is definitely worth a read — if you can stomach it.