Update: upon confirming conviction, we have reinserted the name of the convicted and banned swimmer.
A 15-year old swimmer from Punta Gorda, Florida named Chase Panem has become the youngest person on the USA Swimming permanently ineligible (aka “banned for life”) list after his appeal period expired last week.
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office, the teen was arrested at the South Country Regional Park after being charged with Sexual Battery on a Victim Under 12 Years of Age, and specifically a 6-year old. The victim was attending a summer camp, and after having soiled his pants went into the boys’ restroom. He was then found crawling on the floor from underneath a bathroom stall, where the alleged abuse occured.
“He soiled his pants and a camp counselor took him to the office lobby to wait for his mother to bring clean clothes,” the report read. “The boy got up and went to into the boy’s restroom. A camp counselor went to the boy’s bathroom to check on the boy and found the victim crawling on the floor from the handicap stall. The boy said a boy called him over to the other stall where the sexual acts were committed.”
Update: The Southwest Florida State Attorney’s office confirmed that the 15-year old has been incarcerated in a high risk juvenile facility designed specifically for juvenile sex offenders located in Southwest Florida, though no information was available on the length of his incarceration.
Panem was a member of the club Charlotte County Swimming, just north of Fort Meyers. The specific reason for banishment under the code of conduct was rule 304.3.6, which reads as follows:
304.3.6 Conviction of, imposition of a deferred sentence for, or any plea of guilty or no contest at any time, past or present, or the existence of any pending charges, for (i) any felony, (ii) any offense involving use, possession, distribution or intent to distribute illegal drugs or substances, (iii) any crime involving sexual misconduct, or (iv) any criminal offense against a minor.
As far as we can tell, this is the first instance of an active junior-level swimmer being banned under the organizations new policies for a violation of the code of conduct.