Former U.S. National Team head coach Mark Schubert says he reported rumors of an inappropriate relationship between coach Sean Hutchison and Olympic athlete Ariana Kukors to the head coach of the FAST swim club in 2010.
Schubert says he heard rumors from a fellow coach “from back East” that Hutchison was engaging in a sexual relationship with one of his athletes, the then-21-year-old Kukors, who had been his pupil since the age of 13. Schubert was the U.S. National Team head coach through November of 2010, and a report from CBS Los Angeles says that Schubert was coaching at the Olympic Training Center in Fullerton when he heard the relationship rumors.
Schubert confirmed to SwimSwam on Saturday that he brought the rumors to the attention of Bill Jewell, who was the head coach and CEO of the Fullerton Area Swim Team (FAST), which included a professional training group that included Hutchison and Kukors. The CBS report says Jewell hired a private investigator, but the only evidence the PI could turn up was Hutchison and Kukors’ cars parked together at 5 AM in front of Hutchison’s condo.
Hutchison left the FAST program under a swirl of rumors in late 2010. Kukors went public this week with allegations that Hutchison began grooming her at age 13 and sexually abusing her at age 16. Kukors wrote a lengthy piece detailing her accusations, while Hutchison said the two had a consensual relationship and denied any abuse.
Schubert spoke to SwimSwam this week, saying he was upset with Jewell for allowing Hutchison to resign rather than pursuing a further investigation or reporting the matter to police.
“I was angry,” Schubert said. “I was angry at the time with Bill Jewell, who basically allowed [Hutchison] to resign.”
Jewell was eventually terminated by FAST, then hired by Schubert at the Golden West Swim Club. Another Golden West coach, Dia Rianda, sued Schubert for wrongful termination, claiming she was fired after complaining to USA Swimming about what she viewed as inappropriate behavior by Jewell. In 2013, Jewell himself was suspended by USA Swimming for three years for making sexually explicit comments toward athletes.
That lawsuit alleged that Schubert’s hiring of Jewell was part of a power-play to take control back of the club from Hutchison, and that he was paid $625,000 by USA Swimming to keep quiet about the Hutchison rumors. That lawsuit ended in a settlement,
USA Swimming said at the time that the “resolution of the relationship between Mark Schubert and USA Swimming absolutely did not involve any cover-up of alleged sexual misconduct by Sean Hutchison or any other person.” Instead, they said that the agreement did require Schubert to bring any future ‘reliable information’ involving a Code of Conduct violation to USA Swimming in writing and that he would testify at a National Board of Review proceeding. That $625,000 payout was ostensibly a resolution of Schubert’s contract as USA Swimming’s national team director.
When we spoke to him on Saturday, Schubert denied that he was the reporting coach that prompted USA Swimming’s 2010 investigation nor that USA Swimming ever asked him to drop the matter.
Schubert was also critical of USA Swimming’s capabilities in investigating abuse allegations. He says that he believes that USA Swimming only began investigating the relationship after allegations of an inappropriate athlete-coach relationship appeared in a Washington Post story in 2010 – that the national attention forced their hand. Schubert says he stopped pursuing the rumors when USA Swimming’s investigation cleared Hutchison.
“You know, today we’re educated,” he said. “Today we know that you go to the police. I don’t think you can trust USA Swimming to do the investigation, but back then we weren’t as educated on those things as we are now.”
USA Swimming has said it received a report of an inappropriate relationship between Hutchison and Kukors in 2010, but that both parties denied any sexual or romantic relationship. The swimming federation says this week’s allegations from Kukors marked the first time USA Swimming had heard allegations that Hutchison abused Kukors while she was still a minor.