According to the website NJ.com, YMCA powerhouse team in Somerset Valley, New Jersey has chosen not to renew the contract of coach Joe Weber after learning of a crime he plead guilty to 17 years ago.
In 1995, now-46-year-old Joe Weber spent 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to having oral sex with a 14-year old girl, a fact that was only discovered by the YMCA recently, despite Weber having spent 6 years with the team. There were no new allegations against the coach, but this revelation was an obvious grounds for immediate removal from the program that has over 300 members.
“We take our responsibility to parents and their children very seriously,” YMCA CEO Paul Kieltyka said in a statement. “The safety and well-being of children in our care has always been and will always be a top priority of the Somerset Valley YMCA.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that he formerly was employed as a swim coach at the Germantown Academy Aquatics Club at the time of the incident, which is a USA Swimming club as well.
The Somerset Valley YMCA is one of two power programs in the area, along with nearby Somerset Hills. Somerset Valley finished 9th at this summer’s YMCA National Championships.
His role was referred to by the Somerset Valley YMCA as a “dryland consultant” for the swim team, but USA Swimming spokesperson Jamie Fabos Olsen denies that he was ever a USA Swimming registered coach. Their only record of him is that he was a non-coach/non-athlete member of the organization from September of 2009 through December of 2010, with non-athlete members only required to have their background checks done in January of 2011.
Though they also compete in the YMCA system, the Somerset Valley YMCA Swim Team is also a USA Swimming registered club. A letter sent to families, cited by the Hillsborough Patch, says that he worked at all of the Somerset YMCA locations, but predominantly with the affiliated rec teams in Bridgewater and Hillsborough. It’s not clear whether his role as a contracted “consultant” to the teams requires him to be a member of USA Swimming.