As USA Swimming is dealing with the fallout from the recycling story of decades-old sexual abuse coverups, the public list of banned individuals – one of the positive outcomes of the 20/20 exposée in 2010, has been confusing, to say the least, over the last month.
3 members were added to the banned list in January of 2018 – all were coaches, and all had committed sexually-related crimes that are being investigated or adjudicated by legal authorities. One, Nathan Weddle, was arrested in December on allegations that he had sex with a 15-year old swimmer that he coached. The other two, James Cutrone and Christian Valcarce, were arrested on charges of child pornography.
And yet, none of the 3 were listed as having been banned for sexual charges.
All 3 were banned under two types of code of conduct violations: those related to drugs, and a vague, if not redundant, “Violation of the SafeSport Code.” None of the reasons listed on the public ban listed their sexual crimes, thus diminishing the list’s value to other non-USA Swimming organizations that might attempt to hire the 3 individuals.
We asked USA Swimming about the discrepancy between the criminal charges and the listed reasons for ban a week ago and received a brief response from USA Swimming’s new senior communications director Isabelle McLemore saying that the “SafeSport team was looking into it.” On that same day, the USA Swimming SafeSport Director Susan Woessner resigned, and the list still does not reflect any of the 3 coaches’ sexual-related criminal charges.
That doesn’t mean the list didn’t change. To the contrary – one of the 3 banned coaches, Nathan Weddle, was removed from the list, sometime after February 22nd and before February 27th. On February 27th, we reached out to McLemore again to ask why he was removed, and received no response.
On Thursday morning, however, Weddle’s name re-appeared on the public list, but this time with only 1 reason for his ban (down from the previous listed 3): a “Violation of the SafeSport Code.” There is now no mention of drug or sexually-based offenses, or any specific offenses.
USA Swimming didn’t acknowledge the latest changes by adjusting the “UPDATED” date tracked at the top of the site, which still lists February 26th in spite of Weddle being added back after that date.
Also on Thursday morning, SwimSwam followed-up, again to silence, to ask about the latest development. On the latest communication, we included other members of the USA Swimming staff, including the SafeSport email address and CEO Tim Hinchey, but still have not received a response as of posting.
We will update our readers if USA Swimming responds to explain the misalignment of information.