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 Kukors, who 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.