USA Swimming lands in hot water
Friday, April 9, 2010
A spreading molestation scandal engulfing USA Swimming shows no signs of letup. And it’s getting a full workout on national TV.
In a televised segment, ABC’s “20/20” is reporting a broad slate of sexual misconduct allegations against dozens of coaches. With the number of coaches and victims rising, the network is drawing a comparison to the Catholic Church sex scandal.
According to ABC News, at least three dozen coaches have been banned for life by the organization over the last 10 years because of sexual misconduct with teenagers they coached. Among the evidence drawn from court records and interviews are allegations that they raped, molested, fondled and secretly videotaped young swimmers in the locker room.
San Jose attorney Robert Allard of Corsiglia McMahon & Allard is among several plaintiffs’ lawyers around the country who are pursuing legal action on behalf of young swimmers abused by their coaches. A Kansas City law firm working with Allard another other plaintiffs’ lawyers has established a web page devoted to its legal campaign.
Among those who have come forward to offer moral support to the scores of young swimmers is Deena Deardurff, a 1972 Olympic champion who said she was repeatedly molested over a four year period by her coach a generation ago. In a news conference last month, Deardurff said that she believes the scandal was long overlooked because it was “coaches have been more concerned with the success rate of the swimmers than the well-being of these young people.”
USA Swimming has announced that it will take steps to better police the activity of swim coaches around the country, including a potential reporting system that would allow frightened young victims to come forward.
— Eric Bailey