Attorney Bob Allard Calls For Removal of 8 USA Swimming Figures In Open Letter

Attorney Bob Allard, who frequently represents survivors of sexual abuse in lawsuits against USA Swimming, has written an open letter on behalf of sexual abuse survivors calling for USA Swimming to “expel” 8 people from the organization.

Allard’s letter says the eight named individuals have been part of a USA Swimming culture that “has been responsible for the sexual abuse of countless minor swimmers.” Allard specifically names the following individuals, asking USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey to permanently and publicly ban them from the sport:


The letter, and all eight names, are related to a set of three civil lawsuits filed last month by six survivors of sexual abuse under new California laws that extend the statute of limitations for such suits. The suits revolve around three now-banned swim coaches: Mitch Ivey, Everett Uchiyama, and Andy King. The suits say USA Swimming failed to protect the six women from abuse at the hands of their swim coaches, and created a culture that allowed abuse to happen.

In a press conference last month, one of those abuse survivors – Debra Grodensky – had already named Benton, Nygren and Morselli as responsible parties she says should be removed from leadership positions in USA Swimming.

Allard says the open letter represents all six of his clients in the three new lawsuits, along with “approximately 5 more who have come forward since the last press conference.”

Here is a brief summary of how the letter describes each of the eight individuals and their connection to sexual abuse within USA Swimming:

Murray Stephens

Murray Stephens was the longtime head coach of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Allard’s letter says that “USA Swimming has known since as late as October 2011 that Stephens is a sexual predator,” but allowed him to quietly resign instead of banning him.

Paul Bergen

Paul Bergen was a coach on Olympic and World Championship teams in the ’70s and ’80s. He has been accused by Olympic gold medalist Deena Deardurff-Schmidt of sexually abusing her when she was a teen. Bergen has not been banned by USA Swimming or the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

John Leonard

John Leonard has been the executive director of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) since 1985 and is set to retire at the end of this year. The letter accuses him of honoring Stephens with induction into the ASCA Hall of Fame. The letter also says Leonard and ASCA awarded a swim school franchise to Uchiyama after his quiet firing from USA Swimming for sexual misconduct.

We spoke to Leonard by phone this week. He said that he has never been involved in ASCA awards – those are voted on by the Board of Directors. Leonard also said that ASCA records showed no indication that Uchiyama was ever a director for Swim America, the ASCA-licensed swim school.

“Mr. Allard’s press releases rarely are based on fact,” Leonard said.

Mary Jo Swalley

Mary Jo Swalley headed up Southern California Swimming, the LSC for the region. The letter says Swalley didn’t intervene or pay for Uchiyama to have a separate room from his teenage swimmer at junior nationals. The letter alleges that Swalley admitted years later that she had mishandled the situation in a board meeting.

Swalley says she was never contacted by Allard and that the call for her removal came as a “total surprise.”

“The facts are simply wrong,” she said. “His representations are not what happened.”

Swalley says Allard is mistakenly conflating Southern California Swimming (the LSC Swalley had worked with) and SoCal Aquatics (Uchiyama’s club). Swalley says she’s never had any association with SoCal Aquatics, and that Southern California Swimming had no say in SoCal Aquatics’ policies on housing or hotel rooms.

Swalley said she didn’t recall ever saying she’d mishandled the situation in a board meeting. “I never made a comment that I mishandled anything, because there was never anything that I’d directly handled.”

Mark Schubert

Mark Schubert is a former National Team Director for USA Swimming. He’s accused in the letter of knowing about abuse by a long list of swim coaches and failing to intervene or take action. One specific example from the letter: when he was coaching at the University of Texas, the letter says, swimmer Kelly Currin confided in him about abuse she suffered at the hands of her former coach, Rick Curl. The letter says Schubert dismissed her from the team, calling her a “distraction.”

Schubert told SwimSwam this week that Allard’s allegations were “completely false.” Schubert says that when Currin told him about prior abuse, she and her family had already legally settled the case and asked him not to share the information. Schubert says he still did share Currin’s story with his athletic director and assistant athletic director, and both agreed that it should be kept in confidence.

Schubert says Currin was not dismissed from the team, but chose to quit while dealing with an eating disorder. The letter accuses Schubert of being part of the ASCA Board that elected Curl as Coach of the Year in 1994, but Schubert says he did not vote for Curl at the time, because of the things Currin had told him about Curl’s abuse.

“I’ve always been concerned and cognizant of the safety of any athletes that I’ve been in charge of,” Schubert said. “For [Allard] to imply otherwise is just absolutely false.”

Clint Benton

Clint Benton is a board member for the Pacific Swimming LSC. The letter says he received a complaint about sexual abuse by coach Andy King and took orders from former USA Swimming executive Chuck Wielgus to cover it up.

Steve Morsilli

Steve Morsilli is the head coach of the Pleasanton Seahawks in California. The letter says he was notified about sexual abuse allegations against King, but did not report them to police or other authorities. The letter also says Benton ordered Morselli to remain silent about the abuse allegations.

Morsilli called the allegations untrue, and said he wasn’t aware of King’s sexual misconduct until 2009-2010 after King was arrested.

Around 2002 or 2003, Morsilli says, he helped a former swimmer write a letter of complaint about King. The swimmer accused King of forcing her to kiss a teammate in front of the rest of the group to get out of swimming extra laps. Morsilli says the swimmer specifically asked that no action be taken, but wanted her complaint on file in case there were other issues with King.

Morsilli says he doesn’t recall the former swimmer mentioning anything about a sexual relationship between King and his athletes at the time, and that he felt that getting her complaint to the proper people (it went up the chain from Pacific Swimming to USA Swimming) was his responsibility.

“I got pulled into this situation in the hope of supporting my swimmer and facilitating her complaint,” Morsilli told SwimSwam. “I thought I was one of the ‘good guys’ by supporting her wish to bring the issue forward. Somehow, that has been turned around and now I am being considered a ‘bad guy.'”

Millie Nygren

Millie Nygren has been a board member with Pacific Swimming and is also connected to the King case, the letter says. According to Allard, Nygren knew about the abuse allegations against King and failed to report them to police or other authorities. The letter says Nygren was part of the decision not to renew King’s contract with a club, but that the failure to make the allegations public to authorities allowed King to sexually abuse several more swimmers over the next 25 years.


We asked USA Swimming for comment on the letter (which was delivered to Hinchey’s attorney), but have not yet received an official response. SwimSwam has also attempted to contact all 8 individuals named by the letter.

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Andrea Smith
1 month ago

As a teenager swimming for Paul Bergen I wasn’t aware of his sexual abuse at the time but his emotional abuse is still seared into my memory and I’m in my seventies.

Lily Smith
2 years ago

Defund Morsilli. He threw a large rubber construction cone at a swimmer in he pool. It’s assault.

Mary Marlin
2 years ago

I will NEVER believe Chuck Weilgus was part of covering any of this up. He was just not that kind of man with three daughters.

I feel terrible for the woman this happened to and I know it’s happened way too many times but just as bad are the women who accuse all men without even caring to hear the other side of the story. My friends life was ruined that way until the girl came out and finally admitted she made it up but she was mad at him.

Miranda Heckman's Post about Steve Morsilli
3 years ago

Miranda Heckman’s Instagram post 7/8/20
You will not silence me. You will not silence the others. You will look into my eyes as well as all of the other athletes you have hurt, and face what you have done. But you will also come to realize that you are not what defines us. You do not have power over me or my future.
I am posting today to bring attention to the fact that there have been attempts to silence me in my process to bring awareness to the abuse that myself amongst many others have faced for countless years from Steve Morsilli. You did sexually abuse me. You did physically abuse me. You did verbally… Read more »

Miranda Heckman's Post about Steve Morsilli

Is Steve Morsilli being investigated by the police or USA Swimming Safe Sport? Is he still allowed to be on deck coaching athletes / minors??

It is up to her

I was told that the victim is the only one who can file a police report. I then asked if her parents could file the report since the alleged abuse took place when she was a minor: the answer was no, only the victim can file the police report since she is already an adult. I was also told that the police will not investigate claims made on social media unless the person making the claims contacts the police and files a report. They said the report must be filed with the police department of the city where the alleged abuse took place. So if you truly want the truth to come out and seek justice for the alleged victim,… Read more »

Reply to  It is up to her
3 years ago

The problem is that her attorney is already walking back her statements of Morsilli “sexually abusing” her.

“As for potential sexual abuse allegations, Wagstaffe said the words used by his client “are not technical terms, they’re terms about touching someone in a way that a coach and/or adult shouldn’t touch a person. We can address what (Morsilli’s) concerns are but threatening defamation suits is not the answer.”

So, there was probably no actual crime committed. Maybe some things that should make other parents think twice before putting their kids on the team. But, the comments from her attorney make it sound like it’s not an actual crime, just sort of general being a bully.

It is up yo her
Reply to  swimapologist
3 years ago

That is odd, why would anyone accuse someone of sexual abuse and then hire an attorney to walk back the sexual abuse accusations? Being a bully is bad, but sexual abuse is a crime people go to jail for!

Reply to  It is up yo her
3 years ago

The part that’s SUPER weird is that she posted it once, then was sued and the walk-back by her attorney happened…then she posted it again, accusing him of sexual abuse!

I’m not team Morsilli, don’t know him, am ready to get all of the creepo and bully coaches out of swimming…but…lay out the facts as they really are. And if that’s not enough to get the coach out, then your option is to try and change the system, I guess.

Reply to  It is up yo her
3 years ago

I respectfully disagree with your last statement. Abuse is abuse. Bullying IS abuse. The stigma has to stop and bullying is way too normalized in society as being “not as bad” yet causes life long trauma and can lead to suicide. Please educate yourself.

Former Pleasanton Parent
3 years ago

“When children have disclosed, or abuse has otherwise been discovered, there have been a number of cases in which parents, athletes, clubs and communities rally around an accused coach and ostracize the victim irrespective of the strength of the evidence. Understanding why this
happens—and stopping it is of critical importance to the organization since it deters children from disclosing abuse and may have a chilling effect that keeps others from reporting.”

3 years ago

Does anyone remember what happened with Bowman and Burkle?

Reply to  Frido
3 years ago

Nothing! It’s OK for Bob Bowman to sexually harass and send out creepy emails, but not other coaches. Frank Busch, when he wasn’t recommending his sons for college coaching jobs they can’t handle, gave Bowman a written reprimand and then appointed him as a coach on the 2012 US Olympic Team staff. Even Arizona State University looked the other way and didn’t do anything to Bowman when it all came to light. When they finally come to the realization that their swimming program has made ZERO progress in the five years Bowman has been there, they’ll rue the day they ever heard his name.

Reply to  Frido
3 years ago

“I want you. Bob wants your brother!” – Sean H

Monika Schloder
3 years ago

Finally! Reckoning is coming! I reported in 1972 unacceptable behavior of a coach on deck with female swimmers and was told: get a grip on yourself… just jealous he is not paying attention to you… I was a coach with my team on deck! interesting how Swim Canada will address the Bergen issue … he was a ‘darling’ in their system! I wrote about abuse in Children and Youth Sports in my February Newsletter (Phase 1), in April about the abuse in the Aesthetic Sports (Phase II), and was just editing and composing Phase III-a for my July Newsletter (at the end of each month), reporting on Elite Gymnastics, Track&Field, and Swimming (3 Sports I have coached from Beginner to… Read more »

Monika Schloder
3 years ago

Finally! I reported in 1972 after observing unacceptable behavior of a coach on deck with female swimmers. I was told: Get a grip on yourself… just jealous he is not paying attention to you. I was a a female coach at that time with my team on deck! And Bergen was also a ‘darling’ in the Swim Canada system! Interesting how they will react. Funny, I was just working on research findings of the abuse in Artistic Gymnastics, Track&Field, and Swimming and editing my findings for my July Monthly Newsletter (end of each month) under The upcoming Newsletter is Phase III-a as I had covered in February Phase I – abuse… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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