A North Carolina swim coach, Shannon Foster, has been arrested by police for contributing to delinquency of a minor. Foster is listed as a coach at the Capital Area Swim Team in Raleigh, where she previously served as the assistant to Nathan Weddle – who was banned by USA Swimming earlier this year, then removed, then re-added. After Weddle’s arrest on allegations that he had sex with a 15-year old girl, Foster launched a new USA Swimming club called the Oak City Rays, where she is listed as the head coach (and only coach) on the team’s website. As part of the conditions of her release, she may not have any contact with the alleged victim nor with any minor children.
Besides working with him, Foster was also romantically involved with Weddle, and at one point sent a text message to the victim demanding that she stay away from Weddle.
An attorney for Weddle’s victim Ian Richardson, who spoke to SwimSwam on Tuesday, say that they reported Foster to USA Swimming’s SafeSport department on February 7th, prior to her arrest. On March 12th, USA Swimming sent a letter back saying that they were “unaware of the basis” to ban Foster. A spokesperson for USA Swimming confirmed that, but expanded to say that the original letter from Richardson did not contain a reason or specific violation to ban Foster.
“No basis for the request to ban Ms Foster was previously provided, but USA Swimming informed attorneys for the victim of Nathan Weddle that to the extent the allegations involved sexual misconduct they should be reported to the (U.S. Center for Safe Sport),” the spokesperson said.
USA Swimming also says that they reported Foster to the U.S. Center for Safe Sport on Tuesday morning, prior to our inquiry, after learning of her arrest.
“Early this morning, we were made aware of Shannon Foster’s arrest and immediately notified the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, which since July 2017 has exclusive jurisdiction for all allegations of sexual misconduct that occur in connection with USA Swimming.”
A new law signed by President Donald Trump in February requires that organizations like USA Swimming report sexual abuse to law enforcement within 24 hours, as well as to the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
USA Swimming’s 2018 Code of Conduct includes a provision that requires members to report Code of Conduct violations:
306.1: It is every member’s responsibility to promptly report any incident regarding sexual misconduct by a member as described in the SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement to the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Reporting must occur when an individual has firsthand knowledge of misconduct or where specific and credible information has been received from a victim or knowledgeable third party. Various state laws may also require reporting to law enforcement or to a designated child protection agency.
Attorneys for the victim say that the detective in charge of the case relayed information to their client that Foster confessed to knowledge of the abuse after her arrest. Foster was released on Tuesday on $2000 bond.
SwimSwam will have a discussion and more information on the US Center for SafeSport in the coming week.