Former California coach Daniel Scott Mendenhall has been added to the list of Individuals Permanently Suspended or Ineligible by USA Swimming. His suspension date was January 27th, 2014, meaning that his appeals period ended late last week and he was put onto the public list of those who are ineligible for future USA Swimming membership.
He was banned under the old USA Swimming Code of Conduct, dated from 1999-2008, which was before the big push by the SafeSport program to clean up swimming began in 2010.
The specific references for his ban are below:
304.3.5 Any sexual contact or advance or other inappropriate sexually oriented behavior or action directed towards an athlete by a coach, official, trainer, or other person who, in the context of swimming, is in a position of authority over that athlete.
304.3.15 Any other act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.
What makes this case really interesting is that he is far from a new name – rather USA Swimming didn’t receive actionable information on his offenses, per the USA Swimming bylaws, until recently.
Mendenhall was included on a list of 32 coaches submitted in a “Jane Doe vs. USA Swimming” lawsuit alleging coverup of certain cases. Also on that list was Mitch Ivey, who was just recently banned in the last few months as well. See that list of 32 coaches, originally a report on The Swimmers’ Circle, here.
He is also on the National Sex Offender List and has been since at least 2006.
Mendenhall is a former coach at Sonoma Valley High School, the Twin Valleys Aquatics Club, and the Sonoma Valley Sea Dragons, and a former assistant coach at the University of Kansas in 1994, where he was previously a team captain.
In the document, again a reminder that this was submitted by an attorney for a plaintiff who was suing USA Swimming, it was alleged that:
“The case against Mendenhall began when the parents of the 15-year old victimfiled [sic] a complaint with the Sonoma Police Department in October 2003, Sonoma police Capt. Steve Willis said in February. Daniel Scott Mendenhall, then age 37 of Santa Rosa, was convicted on March 30th and served one year in county jail and three years on probation. He was also give a suspended sentence of two years and eight months in state prison for committing lewd and lascivious acts on a minor.” That is dated from March of 2004, when Mendenhall was approximately 37 years old.
His official conviction from 2006 was for “lewd and lascivious acts with a child 14 or 15 years of age” according to our Ceci Christy. USA Swimming says that they found the conviction from 2004 as well, but Ceci Christy was unable to verify that information in a criminal background check.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Dan Mendenhall has been working as a Tax Professional in California since 2003, and is licensed by the IRS. USA Swimming confirmed that Mendenhall’s most recent stretch of membership was from 1999-2003, which means that he was not a member at the time he was convicted in 2006.
However, Susan Woessner, the Director of the SafeSport program, says that USA Swimming recently was able to track down information from local law enforcement about the 2004 conviction that the crimes began in March of 2002 and reported to law enforcement in November of 2003.
USA Swimming, since 2003 when a rules change was passed by the House of Delegates, is allowed to take action on former members, if they were members at the time of their offense. The new information that USA Swimming received regarding the action of the crime that resulted in the 2004 conviction allowed USA Swimming to place Mendenhall’s offenses during the time of his membership, and therefore the USA Swimming bylaws allowed them to issue the permanent suspension.
Woessner also said that Sonoma County wouldn’t release the records to us because of their policies on cases involving child abuse, but that she was able to confirm with the clerk that there was a 2004 conviction and that the crime started/occurred in 2002. Woessner emphasized that Sonoma County police were as cooperative as they could be in the matter given the county’s restrictions on releasing records.
Because of the inability to access direct records on the case, there’s a strong chance that the 2004 and the 2006 incident are the same incident, and it is simply a matter of how the court records are disseminated to background checks.