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 coach, Shunichi 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 Allard, says 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 Hinchey, saying 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 Bitter, then 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.
Now with the Stockton case it looks like USAS paid their way to a court victory in that they set a precedent in that they, nor the LSC, nor the club can be held accountable. Total BS!!! New levels of disgust with this youth organization. Add to it the Catholic churches problem and the Epstien case involving stunning list of filth. Better keep your kids real close, because the pediphiles are rampant and empowered. SICK SICK SICK!
I wouldn’t put my kids in the sport given the level of crime and coverup that is rampant.
Go ahead, state your case. Why was the Stockton case USA Swimming’s fault? Some of the older cases are absolutely their fault. Poor training, board members knew about serial abusers and did nothing, Chuck W even wrote a letter of recommendation for one to work with children. And I know it’s so popular and so easy to throw darts at governing bodies. But make a strong case. What more should USA Swimming have done in this case? Be specific, what was their failure?
BTW – the club and the LSC both paid out. So, I’m not sure that your rant is fully accurate.
So many coaches I have had to work with wound up being pediphiles (Jay Anderson, Sean Mendoza, Todd Sousa, to name a few co-coaches …some of whom I reported to USAS and police). I wound up having a nervious breakdown. I cant handle being on deck anymore! Can I sue USA Swimming?
Shun was my swim coach, he didn’t seem like a pedo but he would accasionally make comments about drinking and partying w/ my teammates. Definately a red flag. I don’t know what to think about this. It’s been months and i’m still in shock. I still have his number on my phone. Worse than that I don’t even know which of my teammates it was.
Bob Allard has his own agenda vs USA Swimming. He is sleazy!
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
Better than the sleazy coach trick grooming young swimmers to sexually abuse.
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
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!
Do you have insider info on this particular accusation? If not, why are you reflexively siding with the accused pedophile?
Im not talking about this particular case.