Decades After Alleged Abuse, Norm Havercroft Banned for Life by SafeSport

by Riley Overend 6

September 17th, 2023 Club, News

More than a decade after Norm Havercroft was publicly accused of sexually abusing multiple minors, the former West Valley Swim Club coach was issued a lifetime ban by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Back in 2002, USA Swimming attorneys and insurance brokers reportedly attended a mediation session with one of Havercroft’s alleged victims — not even in her teens — before a confidential civil settlement. But in 2010, former USA Swimming CEO Chuck Wielgus denied under penalty of perjury that his organization had any knowledge of prior allegations against Havercroft.

Another one of Havercroft’s alleged victims, Jancy Thompson, sued USA Swimming and West Valley Swim Club in 2010 for failing to take action against a coach who abused a team. She claimed that for five years, beginning she was 15, Havercroft molested her. Thompson said that he groomed her from a young age, sending her pornographic material and buying her a webcam for cybersex while he waited for her to turn 18. The Olympic hopeful said she quit swimming and gave up a scholarship to Arizona State University due to Havercroft’s abuse.

The civil suit ended in an undisclosed settlement after Thompson’s complaints to the San Jose Police Department resulted in no criminal indictments. Before she came forward to police, she actually testified in support of Havercroft when a 1997 San Jose police investigation involving an earlier victim was brought before a grand jury.

“I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer; how could I say something if I was wanting and yearning to be that good,” Thompson told ABC News. “No one would believe me. I didn’t realize at that time that a coach-athlete relationship should not be like that.”

Havercroft’s lawyer, Stephen Baker, argued that Thompson’s initial testimony is indication that her accusations are false and his client is innocent.

“People are wrongly making the assumption that settlement means [Havercroft] must have done it. No it doesn’t equate to that,” Baker told CNN in 2018. “You’ve gotta put yourself in those shoes before you say you wouldn’t settle because as great as our legal system is, it’s imperfect.”

SafeSport’s sanctions, issued on Monday, are officially for “sexual misconduct and criminal disposition involving a minor.” His permanent ineligibility is subject to appeal and not yet final.

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11 days ago

He was my middle school teacher when he was molesting her – enjoyed bullying me too. I often wish I had gone to the principal about his behavior (that pales in comparison to what she went through), but I was just a kid and felt if my teacher was against me then what authority would be for me. We knew the rumors about him then though. What a monster. It was worse than we had heard. I hope more will be done to punish this poor excuse for a human. So glad I quit the West Valley swimming team when this was happening too…unknowingly spared myself of sexual abuse.

13 days ago

I have NO faith in SafeSport. Investigations take way too long.

Thank the Gods. All 7 of the f…
13 days ago

This is long overdue. We can all be thankful that this predator cannot effect any more children in our sport. His wife’s family money bought him a lot of time, but justice has prevailed. Happy for Jancy and the other swimmer (who I also know but won’t name). USA Swimming finally got it right even though it took waaaaaaay too long.

13 days ago

As an 1970/80s age-group swimmer from the Bay Area, it’s shocking to see how many banned coaches were active in the area at the time

Former west valley swimmer
13 days ago

What people should also bring up is why was havecroft allowed to continue to teach at redwood middle school after these allegations surfaced.

Reply to  Former west valley swimmer
11 days ago

Yes, why!? I want to know. He was a big part in making school hellish for me. And they had him teach core class, so it was almost half the day!!!

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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