In an effort to add more transparency to its process regarding the banning of coaches who violate its code of conduct, both for sexual abuse and for other matters, USA Swimming Director of Safe Sport Susan Woessner has released a new document that lays out a flow chart for the complaint process.
Although much of this information was already available, the new format makes it much easier to read and understand for the general public.
Among the key details are:
- an “emergency hearing”to secure a temporary suspension is called when the complaint involves an arrest of a member in violation of part 304.3.6 (under 2013 code of conduct numbering) that reads:” Conviction of, imposition of a deferred sentence for, or any plea of guilty or no contest at any time, past or present, or the existence of any pending charges, for (i) any felony, (ii) any offense involving use, possession, distribution or intent to distribute illegal drugs or sub-stances, (iii) any crime involving sexual misconduct, or (iv) any criminal offense against a minor.”
- After gathering information and referring to law enforcement, as appropriate, and determining that a violation is possible, the first two steps are to “report to outside legal counsel” and “initiate formal investigation by outside investigator.” This means that other than preliminary information gathering to determine a possible violation, most of the investigation is done outside of USA Swimming.
- The investigative report is reviewed by USA Swimming before deciding whether to submit a petition to the National Board of Review chair to request a hearing.
- The National Board of Review chair can choose to grant the request for a hearing, or not.
- Hearing before the National Board of Review happens no fewer than 45 and no greater than 60 days after it is granted.
- A note is on the chart that “Every complaint is different and may deviate from this process based on the circumstances of the situation.”
There are still some fuzzy areas of the process, including who exactly is subject to this process and where the checks and balances are within the system (there are several instances in the flow chart where small groups, or individuals, can derail the process-there’s no specific mention of checks on those groups or individuals, though that doesn’t mean there isn’t any), but with the help of Ceci Christy, we will continue to work with USA Swimming to inform the swimming community of what exactly happens with these complaints and what all is being done to clean up the sport.