SafeSport Director Susan Woessner Resigns, Discloses 2007 Kiss With Hutchison

USA Swimming Safe Sport Senior Director Susan Woessner has resigned from her post, and in her letter of resignation, discloses that she kissed then-coach Sean Hutchison in 2007 and didn’t disclose that information while helping with an investigation of Hutchison for an inappropriate coach-swimmer relationship in 2010.

Woessner worked for USA Swimming as the Times Database Coordinator from 2004-2007. She says during that time, she kissed Hutchison “on a single occasion.” Woessner says there was no sexual or romantic relationship and that the two never had sex.

Shortly after that, Woessner left USA Swimming to pursue a masters degree. She returned to the organization in September of 2010 as “Athlete Protection Officer”, a position that would eventually be known as Director of Safe Sport. Three months later, USA Swimming opened an investigation into Hutchison and his swimmer Ariana Kukorswho were rumored to be in an inappropriate coach-swimmer relationship. Kukors and Hutchison denied the allegations then, but Kukors has since come forward with allegations that Hutchison started the grooming process with her at the age of 13 when he became her coach, and started sexually abusing her at age 16. Hutchison denies those allegations, saying the two were in a “committed relationship” when both parties were adults.

USA Swimming says its investigation then didn’t uncover any Code of Conduct violation. Woessner’s letter of resignation says the investigation was directed by an outside legal counsel and carried out by an independent investigator hired by that legal counsel. She says her role in the investigation amounted to providing contact information for potential witnesses, providing updates to then-Executive Director Chuck Wielgus and contacting potential witnesses to ask them to speak to the investigator if requested by the legal counsel running the investigation.

USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey said this about Woessner’s resignation:

“We are committed to carrying on with the efforts Susan led, supported by the Board of Directors and the organization, to create a safe environment for children and swimming families across the country.”

Woessner’s resignation comes on the heels of a letter sent by USA Swimming to its members in response to reports that the organization had failed to address hundreds of cases of sexual abuse over the past few decades.

Woessner in particular came under heavy fire in a Southern California News Group investigative piece which attributes to Woessner some decisions to not pursue action against coaches accused of sexual abuse, and which quotes at least two sources critical of Woessner’s lack of background in Safe Sport before being hired by USA Swimming to run that division.

You can read USA Swimming’s full press release on Woessner’s resignation here.

You can read Woessner’s full letter of resignation here.

51
Leave a Reply

13 Comment threads
38 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
30 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Sccoach

She kissed the guy she was investigating?

FBI where you at?

Korn

Read the story again. Timeline is important

Sccoach

I understand the timeline, it’s really not important. She let herself be involved in an investigation of a guy she kissed. An ethical person would have immediately disclosed that

sane swim parent

Right on, SCCOACH. In no other universe would this be OK.

Taa

Add an extra zero onto Kukors settlement. Wtf is going on with these people.

Jimmy

Please read carefully. This incident happened well before she was in her Athlete Protection position.

This is a loss for Swimming. Susan is a very honorable and committed member of our community. She accepted the responsibility of trying to pull toegther this extremely challenging position within USA Swimming. I know that she had the best of intentions and worked extremely hard to establish a program that would be fair yet firm. Keep in mind that much of the guidleines and prodedures were guided by law. There was onlu so much leeway and discretion.

Thank you Susan for your serivce to our sport. You will be missed.

dude

the problem wasn’t the kiss, it was failing to disclose.

Swimmom

Did she kiss you too?

Shawn

How many abuses have taken place since she came on as an Athlete Protection Officer in September 2010? If the answer is more than zero, than she wasn’t a very honorable and committed member of our community, she was just another enabler to this culture of abuse.

Guy

That could be the worst logic I’ve ever heard. I guess according to you every police officer that was active during any crime also “wasn’t a very honorable and committed member of our community”.

Shawn

Sorry, that is not a good comparison. That would be like a police officer being present when other officers (or person in power) was doing something they shouldn’t be doing, and that officer doing nothing about it/turning a blind eye/covering it up. If an officer did that then they absolutely wouldn’t be an honorable and committed member of our community. As a parent of a swimmer, I am disgusted that people are on here defending people that were a part of this sickening culture at USA Swimming. I don’t care how nice a person is, if they turned a blind eye to the abuse of children, they are just as guilty as the perpetrators. I will not be happy until… Read more »

Guy

Sorry, your comparison is incorrect. You clearly said “abuses have taken place since she came on”. Meaning, ummmm, any abuses that have taken place. If someone is inappropriate in anywhere then that is her fault the moment it happens. That is terrible logic. You didn’t say she was present for it or even knew it happened. I’m only responding to what you said. Not the situation.

Shawn

I think the better question for you Guy is: why are you defending anyone that is part of this organization, which is obviously marred in corruption both before and after September of 2010???

I’m not blaming her for all cases of abuse since she took on this role in 2010. However, if she swept so much as one case of abuse under the rug because her bosses at USA Swimming told her to, than she is as guilty as all of the good-old-boys that were in Colorado Springs during her tenure.

Guy

No, I’m not defending anyone. I’m saying what you said is terrible logic. Don’t go putting words into someone else’s mouth. Read what you wrote. I don’t get how you don’t understand this. And you did blame her for every abuse case since she took over in Sept 2010. You literally said “How many abuses have taken place since she came on as an Athlete Protection Officer in September 2010? If the answer is more than zero, than she wasn’t a very honorable and committed member of our community, she was just another enabler to this culture of abuse.” What don’t you get about what YOU wrote?

Shawn

You’re correct. I didn’t mean for it to come out that way, but it did. I meant any cases that were swept under the rug during that time. Obviously she is not to blame for all cases of abuse since 2010. I’d like to believe that nothing was swept under the rug during that time, but the history of USA Swimming doesn’t have me too hopeful that that is the case.

Guy

I agree w you there

Guy

That’s not what you said in your post. you said if anyone was abused at all that she is not honorable. You’re blaming her for every abuse that has happened since September 2010.

Guy

Sorry, reread your post. You said she not honorable is any abuses occurred since September 2010. So if anybody abused anybody at anytime at anyplace, she is not honorable. That’s terrible logic.

woods

I agree with Jimmy. Susan is a great person. Also it should be noted that Susan was either 26 or 27 when this kiss happened so I don’t think it is comparable or really warranted any red flags going up. I am sure it should have been disclosed but USA swimming should probably also have a rule about employees investigating a former coach as that had to have been known during the process.

Sccoach

They shouldn’t “probably” have the rule, they should be legally obligated to have the rule

anon

There are rules and laws because non-profits are overseen by the Attorney General in their State. If there is a conflict of interest or during the process a conflict of interest arises, one is suppose to recuse themselves. The LSC, USA Swimming, and the USOC bylaws state this. This was one of my many complaints to Susan Woessner and USA Swimming that on each hearing panel (5) my family had to endure, people who were part of the complaints sat on the panel. The only person who recused himself, was the LSC board of review chair. The review process was a complete kangaroo court which they allowed to drag on for three years (in my families case), with no relief… Read more »

Mac

Whoa. That’s ridiculous. You need justice.

Michael

I am so sorry that happened to you and your family. Completely unacceptable.

FLOCO

JEEZ, It’s irrelevant whether she is an great person, and it does not matter that she kissed him when she was not in her position. It is considered a conflict of interest! Period! How can people even defend this situation. She should have know better and needed to tell someone before she got involved in the investigation so that it could proceed without it looking like she might/could interfere with the investigation.

sane swim parent

I’m sure she is a great person, but in what other professional situation would someone be involved in an investigation (for sexual matters, no less!) for someone s/he had kissed and think that kiss was NOT relevant?

Hswimmer

How is that being honest?

Sccoach

I read it very carefully. Am I wrong or is being involved in investigating someone she kissed totally unethical?

Bluemoon

That fact of the matter is that the misdeeds of others in that office and on the board are a lot worse. Between the coverups, nepotism, dishonesty and financial malfeasance of membership money, this whole operation needs to be cleansed from the top down. Hinchey’s role as a leader will soon be defined. Hopefully it will be good.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!