NPR Reports on USA Swimming Safe Sport Independent Review

  9 SwimSwam Staff | August 27th, 2013 | Featured, National, News

This morning on the way to work, to the shock of even us at SwimSwam, NPR broadcasted a nationwide radio report on the status of the USA Swimming sexual abuse scandal and their SafeSport program.

The report traveled back and covered, at a high level, to 2010, when the stories first started making national airwaves, including covering topics like Rick Curl. They spoke with Bob Allard, the attorney representing many of the victims and alleged victims, and Chuck Wielgus, the chief of USA Swimming.

The context of the report was around USA Swimming’s independent review of the SafeSport program (which can be read about here) timed against the upcoming meeting on Wednesday with U.S. Representative George Miller to discuss sexual abuse both in swimming and other youth sports.

There wasn’t a ton of new information in the report. Wielgus denied that the timing of the independent investigation was connected to the groups meeting with Miller. NPR did manage to get a rare recorded Wielgus interview, which is a plus for the report.

The big news, though, is that the saga is back in the eye of national news media, which we saw three years ago pushes for a lot of momentum and change. Listen to the embeded report above.

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9 Comments on "NPR Reports on USA Swimming Safe Sport Independent Review"

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No Name
3 years 1 month ago

Nice broadcast. The safe sport program is a joke! Like Rennick mentioned in the interview – a 5 minute call from USA Swimming could have helped his kids. A 5 minute call from USA Swimming could help many, many, many kids. USA Swimming does not want to get involved at the club level or LSC level. I e-mailed “Chuck” many times with no response. I contacted Woessner many times (she was no help whatsoever). The sport development consultant was useless.

Chuck mentions in the interview that USA Swimming now has the “time” to look at the program. “Time” is not on the athletes side. “Time” is on USA Swimming’s side – enough time goes by and the problem goes away. Wonder what kind of action would be taken if USA Swimming staff stopped receiving their paychecks? Would they be content to wait months or even years before the problem was addressed? They don’t seem to understand or care about the effect their inactions have on the lives of others.

3 years 1 month ago

I agree with with no name. There are no safety nets for these athletes. If USA swimming banned 38 coaches in the last 3 years, I fear there are hundreds of abused swimmers who are afraid to come forward. USA swimming waits for a criminal case and then bans them. When its her word against his, they don’t move on it. These guys are predators who USA swimming is protecting.

3 years 1 month ago

So true. USA swimming staff collects money and protects coaching jobs while swimmers and parents are taken advantage of.

3 years 1 month ago

USA Swimming is also spending untold amounts to fight a California bill that gives sex abuse victims rights in the civil courts.

Steve Nolan
3 years 1 month ago

Yuppers. It’s pretty deplorable.

Steve Nolan
3 years 1 month ago

They’re taking credit for Rick Curl being punished!??!

That’s fairly shameless. Like, wow.

3 years 1 month ago

“Yeah, see, it’s like this. We have this screening and safe sport policy, and we netted one of the biggest fish out there since we implemented it. The system works!”

3 years 1 month ago

In my opinion Wielgus misdirected and avoided the truth throughout the entire interview. His quotes were probably scripted for him by Ground Floor Media (GPM), a PR Firm in Colorado USA Swimming recently hired.

USA Swimming has acknowledged in an internal memo to select recipients at USA Swimming that they are paying GPM $200,000 to train Wielgus and others on how to handle questions such as the ones NPR posed. Other PR services from GPM will be provided as well.

to wit: NPR asked Wielgus if the allegation of covering up cases of misconduct and not taking the issue of sexual abuse seriously, he replied without answering the question and coyly admitted if you read between the lines that he did not want to talk about the past but rather the present. He laconically answered without going into detail the following:

“This is something we’ve worked very, very hard at,” says Wielgus, adding, “I’m very proud of where USA Swimming is today in its efforts. We’ve made enormous progress and the program will continue to get better as we go.”

The truth is USA Swimming refused to take complaints seriously they actually did cover up bad behavior. Example, there is a coach named Everett Uchiyama who was placed on the ‘banned list’ yet USA Swimming’s “brass” in plural tense gave Uchiyama a solid recommendation (if not glowing) to a place called “The Country Club” in Colorado Springs who hired him as a swim coach. He is on a freaking banned list that USA Swimming set up under pressure yet they still endorsed him as safe to be around? (See the Paul Newberry article at the Huff Post)

Next there was a victim in the San Jose molestation mess that wrote Chuck Wielgus an email stating there was de facto sexual harassment going on in San Jose but Chuck said to a lawyer, “let’s keep this between you and me” and nothing was done to investigate.

Now Congress is investigating so they hire lobbyists to go to Washington (I am told) to get the republicans to kill this action. Next they need fast and real street cred, a ghetto pass, a get out of jail free card so they buy the services of a child abuse expert who is being paid to do a review or USA Swimming ‘Safe Sport’ program. One could argue that this guy is a paid and biased mercenary much like an tired old actress pimping some Chinese manufactured makeup and eyeliner in some informercial at 2:00 AM in the morning.

Chuck Wielgus should resign.

3 years 1 month ago

Pedophile enablers whether they be USA Swimming, Penn State, religious leaders, educaters they must be held just as accountable as the accused pedophiles/ child molesters themselves like Sylvain Kustyan, swim coaches, Ariel Castro, Jerry Sandusky, etc. This is because without the complicity of enablers the depraved predators could not continue to prey upon our innocent children for years. Sandusky and Castro are now safely behind bars. Unfortunately most swim coaches seem to have gone unpunished. Sylvain Kustyan, who has been formally charged with two counts each of 1st Degree Sodomy and Sexual Abuse of a ten-year-old little boy, fled to avoid imminent arrest. Kustyan, formerly of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Hermin/ Mazingarbe, France, is currently a fugitive from the law. The psychological and emotional trauma of the abuse as well as physical health problems follow the victims throughout their lives. The average pedophile has 300 different victims in their lifetime and since the recidivism rate among pedophiles is virtually 100% they must be stopped ASAP! US Swimming must redeem itself by cracking down hard on the predators in their organization.