USA Swimming Added As Defendants In Lawsuit Against Stockton Swim Club

USA Swimming is now included as a defendant in an updated filing of the civil lawsuit against a Stockton, CA swim club over alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old.

The case revolves around an unnamed plaintiff, a 13-year-old girl who says she was sexually abused by her swim coachShunichi Fujishima. The lawsuit, filed in April, lays out a number of allegations of grooming against the coach. The lawsuit is officially filed against Pacific Swimming (the LSC governing the club where the abuse allegedly happened), Stockton Swim Club, Fujishima and now USA Swimming.

In a press release today, the girl’s attorney, Bob Allardsays that new evidence shows that USA Swimming knew about abuse allegations involving another coach with that club, but covered them up and only gave the coach a warning.

The interesting piece of this suit is that Allard’s release specifically targets CEO Tim Hincheysaying Hinchey was one of the high-ranking USA Swimming officials who knew about the allegations. While USA Swimming has faced a slew of criticism over its handling of coaching abuse allegations, most have centered around Hinchey’s predecessor, Chuck Wielgus. 

Hinchey took over as CEO in July of 2017. Allard’s press release indicates that the allegations against the yet-unnamed Stockton coach came about in early June of that year, when a parent mailed a “lengthy complaint” to John Bitterthen a USA Swimming board member and official with Pacific Swimming. The complaint accused a coach of sexually abusing an 8th-grade girl.

Allard’s release says that then-USA Swimming Safe Sport Director Susan Woessner acknowledged receiving the same complaint on June 5, but chose to investigate herself rather than contacting law enforcement.

“With Hinchey and other high-ranking USA Swimming officials copied on the letter, Woessner simply issued a warning to the assistant coach, who continues to be a coach in good standing with USA Swimming and continues to have access young kids.”

It’s unclear when that letter was sent, but Allard’s release alleges that Hinchey was copied on the letter.

Several of the key players in that narrative are no longer in their former positions. Bitter was later terminated from his coaching position in Santa Clara and charged with felonies. He’s accused of embezzling money from the Santa Clara Swim Club. Woessner resigned in early 2018 after admitting she had kissed a coach later investigated on allegations that he’d groomed and sexually abused an underage swimmer. The investigation, which Woessner helped with, cleared that coach, but the swimmer has since come forward saying the coach did abuse her, and the coach has been banned by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

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Stan

So, now what? You don’t get along with your coach, accuse him/her in sexual harassment, file a case agains him/her. Done deal! I cant believe, that after all the cases in the past 5 years there are still people doing stuff like that!

Usausausa

Yikes

Doug

Do you have insider info on this particular accusation? If not, why are you reflexively siding with the accused pedophile?

Stan

Im not talking about this particular case.

Sccoach

This is how USA swimming has always dealt with this stuff. Serious complaint gets made then months of investigating. They deserve to lose this lawsuit

Superfan

Bob Allard has his own agenda vs USA Swimming. He is sleazy!

Taa

Yes this a sleazy lawyer trick sue everyone without having a clue who is responsible and all the defendants have to spend big bucks in lawyer fees to show they are innocent

Rswim

Better than the sleazy coach trick grooming young swimmers to sexually abuse.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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