Sexual abuse survivors Debra Grodensky, Tracy Palmero and Suzette Moran, along with attorney Bob Allard, called for USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey to rid the organization of remaining employees who covered up sex abuse under former executive Chuck Wielgus.
The three survivors of sexual abuse spoke publicly today at a press conference announcing a set of three lawsuits filed against USA Swimming over abuse by swim coaches Andy King, Everett Uchiyama and Mitch Ivey. You can read more about the lawsuits in our earlier report here.
“Mr Hinchey: I believe you to be a good man with good intentions,” Allard said.
“True change cannot occur unless those who knew [about sexual abuse] and remained silent and did nothing are ousted from USA Swimming’s leadership.”
The press conference aimed squarely at Wielgus, USA Swimming’s executive for nearly 20 years. Wielgus, who died in 2017, was heavily criticized throughout his tenure for failing to prevent widespread abuse of swimmers by coaches.
“Chuck Wielgus was the poster-boy ‘bad guy’ within this organization,” Allard said. “He’s now gone. But he did not act alone. Not even close. He had the cooperation of a very large board of directors and a very large management team.
“There are people who remain in leadership positions today within USA Swimming who go way back to even the days of Debra Grodenski in the late ’80s, early ’90s. And if it means to blow things up to replace all these people with some good people, then that’s what we have to do. That’s where it starts.”
Grodensky, who was sexually abused by King in the 1980s, specifically named three people she says knew about King’s abuses who remain in leadership positions with USA Swimming today and have never been held accountable:
- Clint Benton
- Steve Morsilli
- Millie Nygren
You can watch the full press conference via the Childhood Sexual Abuse Lawyers Facebook page below:
You can read the full complaint documents below:
USA Swimming gave the following comment:
“We are aware of the information publicly released today in California. We fully support survivors of sexual abuse along their healing journey. USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program continues to work with prominent health and education experts to provide meaningful member resources and SwimAssist funding to those in need. The organization and its current leadership remain committed to providing a safe environment and a positive culture for all its members.
“The three named offenders have long been on USA Swimming’s list of Individuals Permanently Suspended or Ineligible for Membership due to the allegations of misconduct from the 1980s and 1990s, and the U.S. Center for SafeSport has recognized and honored our bans.”