Update: WaPo Posts Full Rick Curl Non-Disclosure Agreement

  94 Braden Keith | July 25th, 2012 | Club, Featured, News

Update: The Washington Post has released what appears to be a scanned version of the non-disclosure agreement in question. See that document here. Note that the complaints are not fully executed, but the settlement is on pages 11 and 12.

The Washington Post is reporting that Rick Curl, one of the founders of the hugely-successful Curl Burke Swim Club, is being called in front of a USA Swimming Emergency Hearing involving a former swimmer of his in the 80’s named Kelley Currin (then Kelley Davies).

From the Post:

USA Swimming has requested an emergency disciplinary hearing against prominent Washington area swimming coach Rick Curl for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a teen swimmer and then paying her and her parents to keep quiet as part of a settlement.

Read the full story from the Post here, who claims to have received a copy of a non-disclosure agreement where Curl paid $150,000 to Davies and her family in exchange for them not speaking publicly on the topic or press charges.

The statute of limitations on statutory rape in Virginia, presuming it would be a misdemeanor charge, is one year. In Virginia, however, because of the age difference, these offenses would be likely prosecuted as class 4 and class 6 felonies, which have no statute of limitations. Any legal statutes of limitations do not preclude USA Swimming from taking action if they decide there is merit to the accusations. It would also not preclude civil action, pending the exact terms of the non-disclosure agreement and whether or not they would be upheld.

Curl Burke, the largest satelite club team in the country, has now had two interactions with USA Swimming emergency hearings this summer; in June, former coach Noah Rucker was arrested for alleged transgressions against a former female swimmer of his as well.

 

 

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94 Comments on "Update: WaPo Posts Full Rick Curl Non-Disclosure Agreement"


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Joan
4 years 2 months ago

Do we suspect any more women will come forward? Good for you Kelley.

trina tambor
4 years 2 months ago

This is the problem. No one wants to speak up when they see something being done that is wrong. Pete Morgan wants us to believe that he knew nothing. He has been Rick Curl’s right-hand man since the beginning. I believe he knew and knew that it was in his best interest to stay quiet. If it were to be found out that Pete Morgan knew about the incident and said nothing the repercussions on Curl-Burke could be devastating, as Pete is the head man in charge when Rick Curl is not around – who would run the programs and what would happen to Pete Morgan? It was that way when Rick Curl was coaching in Australia (from 2004-2008) and it is that way now that Rick Curl has taken leave. Sexual abuse was not spoken of twenty-three years ago, it was a different era, and if you tried to call someone out on it, the victim is always the one persecuted. Shame on all those who knew and did nothing! It seems as if the times they are a changing and hopefully because of the awareness, perpetrators will think twice before preying on the more vulnerable! My sympathy goes out to the victim and the family.
USA Swimming has nothing on their website about this – they need to stand up and show that they will take action and that they are going to look out for the children. And the fact that there is no link on the front page of the Washington Post’s website now does make one question whether there is pressure being applied to keep everything on the low key. If 15 yr. old Katie Ledecky comes away with a medal at the Olympics I am betting that Rick Curl will be hard to find.

MicWiz
4 years 2 months ago

Trina – I see your same postings on most of the story sites. Wow – So now Pete Morgan is guilty for a cover up because you “believe he knew…and said nothing”? Why are you focusing on him instead of Rick Curl? You know a lot about the club, so how do you base your claim that he knew? Were you there? Did you know of the abuse? Before vilifying others, let the action of the investigation come up with the facts before playing prosecutor and attempting to destroy another person’s reputation based merely on your feelings – or back them up with facts.

Darcy
4 years 2 months ago

Of course he knew.

Swimparent
4 years 2 months ago

Trina,

I agree w/MICWIZ! You don’t know what you are talking about. You are so quick to vilify Pete Morgan. Here’s a tip for you from journalism 101: Don’t ASSUME anything because it makes an Ass out of U and Me! Same point to you Darcy.

How about the fact that Currin said she confided in a number of people when the relationship ended, including Bill Bullough, the founder of the RMSC? Why aren’t you complaining about his lack of ethics?

Swimmer4Life
4 years 2 months ago

Amen to that!

don
4 years 2 months ago

Glad she came forward,it takes a lot of guts . It’s a crime that people/coaches that knew about this didn’t come forward earlier.

4 years 2 months ago

I don’t believe Kelley came forward with this investigation. USA Swimming initiated this back in December 2011. Apparently, from the article, this has been a very well known fact in USA Swimming. I wonder what their motive is here and now? Do they plan on setting a precedent with this case and be able handle all the other cases that are going to be coming forward from the 1980’s and 1990’s? Rumors and speculations from many many prominent coaches in the world of US Swimming have been rampant for as long as I can remember. I am very interested to hear what USA Swimming’s objective is and what it is they want to achieve in this case. The board at USA Swimming has mishandled recent cases on sexual abuse and were very defensive on how they handled them. There are people behind this who have always been envious and hated Rick Curl because of his success. All I have to say is that EVERY team in this country better take a good look at their own before casting stones.

MrTurkle
4 years 2 months ago

“I am very interested to hear what USA Swimming’s objective is and what it is they want to achieve in this case.”

Really? Because I’m interested on why a grown man thought it was ok to emotionally manipulate and engage in sex acts with a 14 year old. He’s lucky to be in one piece. I cannot imagine being the father of this girl finding out her swim coach was having sex with her in my own house. I hope USA Swimming’s motive is to ban him for life.

MarkB
4 years 2 months ago

CUBUSWIMMER said, “There are people behind this who have always been envious and hated Rick Curl because of his success.” I don’t even know where to start with this comment. Who gives a shit about his success! He had sex with a 13 year old. Your comments make me think you went to Penn State. A lot of team backers there also justify, justify, justify…

Shirley
4 years 2 months ago

People around back then heard rumors but neither Kelly or those who were told said anything. In 2010, we passed legislation that requires reporting where there is first hand knowledge or reliable second hand knowledge. We also passed a rule that made statutes of limitation inapplicable to reporting. Kelly should have come forward under these rules. Anyone who knew (including Morgan) should have come forward. Part of the rule passage was to help bring justice for past harm. However unless people come forward uSAs cannot get rid of bad coaches.

A coach is NOT a feat coach if he or she is molesting swimmers!

Brian
4 years 2 months ago

How has USA Swimming mishandled recent cases? Unless you’re spouting nonsense out of your ass…If I recall, the newer stringent travel meet measures, not to mention their new policies, were in direct response to allegations such as this.

There’s no motive except to prevent this from happening and to punish those who got away with it under more lax and trusting regulations by the governing body.

4 years 2 months ago

Brian,

I’m glad USA Swimming has implemented newer more stringent policies. In this litigious society that we live in, they have had to evolve with the times. I’m not spewing nonsense out of my ass. Unless the board at USA Swimming is made up of 12 year olds, they have been aware of this case for a long time too. The problem with their case is that they don’t have one. This ship has sailed. And BTW MRTURKLE, if this were my child, I wouldn’t be asking USA Swimming to investigate – I would call 911.

Brian
4 years 2 months ago

I would agree – if I remember my law correctly, I’m fairly certain they could do nothing about that case because of the non-disclosure agreement. If it was settled without them being involved, there would be no legal way of them knowing, since it would prevent a third party to being privy to any information of that incidient.

Chris DeSantis
4 years 2 months ago

CUBUSWIMMER,

If other clubs have the same problem, and I would venture a guess you are right that many more do, then it needs to come out and it needs to be dealt with and I will applaud USA Swimming for doing so.

NotJL
4 years 2 months ago

This was not a well kept secret among Summer college swimmers at Curl-Burke in the 1980’s. I have a very hard time believing that the “rumors” were not also heard by a great many coaches and national level USA Swimming coaches at that time, and not for the first time in December 2011.

I am not an attorney, but a read over the settlement agreement is that that parties, Curl and then Kelley and her parents merely settled a dispute and agreed to drop any current or future claims for Curl paying $150K over a decade plus, and presumably he paid the last of it about a decade ago. The settlement agreement contained no references to any sexual items and certainly no admissions of guilt.

Almost exactly two years ago sex abuse was a white hot issue for USA Swimming. There was a Waterloo moment…sort of. Schubert, a coach and not an administrator was shoved out. Wieglus, a very highly compensated leader and administrator weathered in the storm. It seemed like the status quo strangely kept its glue.

In addition to the epic bad timing of this only days before the only fortnight that comes every four years where people really pay attention to this sport, it shines a light again on Wieglus. Picture reruns of the August 2010 ABC “20/20” spot with Wieglus standing resolute that there nothing to see here now, keep moving. If USA Swimming were a publicly traded company and had investors and a board, he would not have made it to high noon the next day without taking the fall. But that didn’t happen, nothing really changed and the status quo marched on. Well that worked until it didn’t work, and that time is now.

Oh and also, again not a lawyer and would love to hear someone informed chime in, but where can this possibly go now? It happened over 3 decades ago, there is this no small matter of a settlement and the $150K to say nothing on both sides and again the settlement agreement said nothing about what it was for. Bravo to Curl’s attorney, whoever that was, for making this look like an agreement to settle a non-specific dispute. Now the lawyers of course will remind Kelley, her parents and Curl that they all agreed to say nothing, and where exactly does that leave USA Swimming in this crackdown coming 33 years and change too late?

Brian
4 years 2 months ago

Well, it depends. Statute of limitations has expired, but not if classified as a class 4 or 6 felony, I believe due to the age difference.

USA Swimming really had no jurisdiction – and are absolutely clean from that. If the parents had not gone with the non-disclosure agreement and hadn’t settled, and it was brought to light, then USA Swimming should have intervened.

However, due to the disclosure agreement, they would never know, being a third party. Curl’s attorney did a fantastic job of that non-disclosure agreement, unfortunately. The family would be bound to silence, and no one else would be able to hear anything about it.

Essentially, it was something that was handled/taken care of that USA Swimming couldn’t have even known about because of that agreement, unless Curl himself decided to spill the beans.

NotJL
4 years 2 months ago

Rick Curl’s group trained in Maryland. I think the Curl Swim Club was an LLC or a registered Inc. in Washington, DC though, just to make it more complicated.

SteveK
4 years 2 months ago

I practiced criminal defense law in Montgomery County for over a decade. Maryland has no statute of limitations for felonies. From what I understand some of these alleged acts were committed in Montgomery County, Maryland. Therefore, the alleged crimes could be prosecuted in Maryland. I represented a guy in a similar situation (the crime was over 15 years old before the victim came forward), he made a full confession and pled guilty. It is incredibly ugly process which is why I don’t handle these types of cases anymore. I lost my stomach for it. With respect to the contract/settlement agreement. I have not read it but I will say that an agreement to do something illegal is not enforceable. You can not legally sign away your right to report a crime to the proper authorities. A clause in a contract which says “I won’t go to the police” is not legally enforceable. Similarly, if I make a down payment of $1,000 to buy a car which I know is stolen and the car is not delivered to me then I have no legally enforceable case to get the $1,000 back. It’s illegal to knowingly buy a stolen car.

Brian
4 years 2 months ago

@SteveK

To clarify, both places have no statute of limitations on felonies, I think we’re in agreement there.

Well, then apparently the onus is on the judge and attorneys involved, because they essentially agreed to keep it from the authorities.

The phrasing of the NDA is as such: ”

7. Concurrently, with the execution of this Settlement Agreement, Swimmer shall not initiate or proceed with any other action or proceeding, whether civil or administrative as against coach. Additionally, Swimmer shall not initate and/or voluntaritly proceed with any criminal action against coach.”

Kahuna
4 years 2 months ago

I swam for Curl in the 80’s this story has HUGE legs. We all knew it. Unfortunately we were all young enough back then to probably not truly know the ramifications since it was obviously consensual. But for the coaches back then to claim they did NOT know what was going on is rediculous. It was obvious. This is turn the blind-eye syndrome at its best.

BaldingEagle
4 years 2 months ago

You mean “NON-CONSENSUAL.”

Kahuna
4 years 2 months ago

NO, even if you read her testimony. She consented. I am not saying it was a lawful act. I am just saying that she was ok with it. Read up on it before you make comments.

Bob
4 years 2 months ago

“consent” is a legal term when used in this way. It is not legally possible for an underage person to consent. This is referred to as a compliant victim, but in no way is it consenual.

Kahuna
4 years 2 months ago

Thanks Bob, well clarified. I used the wrong term.

swimmermama
4 years 2 months ago

The girl was 13 years old. An adult can not have a consensual relationship with a 13 tear old, for goodness sakes! The girl is not emotionally mature enough to give consent, that’s why we have laws in place to protect underage children from adult predators.

MIKE
4 years 1 month ago

She was 13 years old. Legal consensual sex? Are you insane.

don
4 years 2 months ago

The settlement is signed, The original claim that triggered the settlement wouldn’t need to be because it was probably withdrawn when an out of court settlement was reached

4 years 2 months ago

We reported this first back in February 2011!

Stay tuned because there’s more stories like this coming in the very near future.

mommaswim
4 years 2 months ago

I am also disturbed by the fact that Kelley’s parents knowingly and willingly accepted a monetary fee instead of pursuing justice!! I don’t care what their lawyers supposedly said about ‘a slap on the wrist for the coach’ is all he would get. If that were my daughter, Rick Curl would have been walking around with one less appendage when I had found out. Justice served.

swimmermama
4 years 2 months ago

I agree. I can not understand how a parent would not insist on pressing charges in order to protect other girls. This man has had access to many other girls.

swimswamswimmer
4 years 2 months ago

The unfortunate thing is that everyone knew this about Rick Curl. If Pete was aware of the situation and sat back and did nothing about it, as well as others I could see this snowballing into a Penn St situation. Not sure if Rick taking leave to AU all those years is associated with these allegations. Wouldn’t surprise me. That fact is that if you are aware of a heinous act of this magnitude YOU MUST SAY SOMETHING! Do not be part of the cover up.

NotJL
4 years 2 months ago

I don’t believe that Pete Morgan knew anything. He ran basically a club within a club in Burke, VA while Curl trained his group in Maryland. At that time Curl had his Camelot with his athletes including Kelley, Flanagan had his centered around Michelle Griglione and Pete had a pretty large cadre of college swimmers back for Summers. Frankly, besides being tethered together by the same large organization I never got the impression that these men that ran the clubs within the club – Curl, Flanagan and Morgan – were particularly close. And it was and remains a huge volume participate club. The old joke back in the day was you would wind up shaking hands to introduce yourself to your Curl relay teammates at Summer Nats.

Pete Morgan is a good man, and I refuse to believe any of this touches him in a bad way and most certainly will pray it does not.

This is a disaster for USA Swimming. An 11 on a scale from 1 to 10.

Brian
4 years 2 months ago

Not really. What do you propose USA Swimming to have done? Had some secret intelligence method of gathering information from a non-disclosure agreement?

On a scale of 1-10, for USA Swimming it’s about a 4. There’s literally no way for them to have found out about it. People’s lips were sealed.

NotJL
4 years 2 months ago

Brian, Thank you. It most certainly seems like you are more informed on the legal items. And if you are right it looks like game, set, match Curl thanks to his attorney and this settlement and non-disclosure agreement.

I’ll be careful with this one, but this was truly no secret among the college swimming circles in the late 1980’s, at least among the swimmers. The coaches, I don’t really know. We’ll sure find out soon.

I’ll tell you this, Amy Shipley is one heck of a reporter. She’s been diligently at this one for many years. I don’t know who or how this levee broke, but this was not some story dropped on her desk.

jennifer
4 years 1 month ago

Kelley had access to USA swimming coaches and CONFIDED in them multiple times. Nothing happened…

USA swimming had the document in their possession IN APRIL of 2012…where was Rick???? Front and center at the Olympic Trials in Nebraska.

Sarah
4 years 2 months ago

If I have my timeline correct Flanagan wasn’t even with CUBU during this time.

NotJL
4 years 2 months ago

Wrong. Flanagan was there Summer 1987 and Michelle Griglione was one of his stars. I think that Mark Henderson also swam in his group.

Sarah
4 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the correction

Swim3057
4 years 2 months ago

I believe that Mark Henderson swam with Jeff King, who was a lead coach as well as the other mentioned 3.

Kahuna
4 years 2 months ago

Incorrect.

Kahuna
4 years 2 months ago

incorrect in reference to Flan.

BaldingEagle
4 years 2 months ago

Check your history: Flanagan had his own teams: in the early 80’s, it was AYFF (Arlington Y Fun and Fitness) and NVFF. One of those teams won Y Nats in 89 or 90. Flanagan came on board with CUBU much more recently, though it is true that he ran his own unit.

Also, though this doesn’t really add much to the conversation, Rick kept dozens of caps and team equipment with the old “Curl” logo (before it became Curl-Burke), and used to give those out to his stars at major meets, with a wink and a smile, though CUBU was the official team name (Barrowman, Minthorn, Santos, Lopez, etc).

Kahuna
4 years 2 months ago

Again, incorrect. I swam for Curl….Flan was there…he has come and go a few times. But he was there when Kelley swam there.

FRVASWMR
4 years 2 months ago

Flanagan had NVFF at summer nats in Ft Lauderdale in 84 and was with Curl at Spring Nat in Orlando Spring 86. Not sure Kelly was at Orlando, dont remember about Ft Lauderdale.

Darcy
4 years 2 months ago

My suspicion is that Morgan did know what was going on. He and Rick have been very good friends since their college days.

MICWIZ
4 years 1 month ago

Darcy – There you go again – You think he knew. Why? Were you there? You are inconsiderate and as inappropriate as a gossiper at the neighborhood fence.

Coach
4 years 2 months ago

I agree, but I’m going to put it out there. HER OWN PARENTS were part of the cover up. The family took money instead of going to the police and possibly preventing this from happening to other kids? The family knew he was working around kids and kept quiet for over TWO DECADES!!!

I am not blaming the victim. Let me get that clear. Rick Curl should be thrown into a prison cell with “child rapist” on his forehead. But the victim’s parents should be held in the same light as any other coaches that knew. They were all adults, and if they knew about the situation, they should have taken it to the authorities.

And the fact that Bob Allard, the same lawyer involved in 20/20, decided to release this information right before the Olympics is fishy. If his ultimate motive was to get Rick Curl off the pool deck and away from kids, then why wait to send this to the media until the week before the Olympics? He is just as guilty of sitting on this document as he accuses USA Swimming of doing.

Turning your head, accepting money, waiting to plant documents with the media- at what point do the adults behave the way we expect our children- responsibly???

NotJL
4 years 2 months ago

Bob Allard was not playing his own cards on the timing. This was on the front page of the Washington Post this morning. To be candid, Bob Allard would sooner make a press release about mowing his lawn than to address this topic.

USA Swimming should just clean it out at the top and get a new leader. If Rowdy Gaines would take that job, then offer it to him.

Coach
4 years 2 months ago

It was in the Washington Post today because Bob Allard, the victim’s lawyer, sent the nondisclosure agreement to the Washington Post on Friday.

Bob
4 years 2 months ago

Jeremey Lin — Really, you’re going with Pete Morgan, who in the article says “Rick Curl is one of my best friends”, knew nothing about Curl’s indiscretions but USA Swimming should have magically been completely aware of the situation?

NotJL
4 years 2 months ago

Really, I’m going with Pete Morgan. I was more than a little surprised to read him stating he was close to Rick Curl. Maybe they warmed over the years and my reference period was in the 1980’s. If my kids swam – and they don’t – Pete is a coach I would want for them.

Pete Morgan is a good man. If it turns out I am wrong and he knew something, I would be devastated to learn that. I am skeptical of a lot of things, but not the integrity of Pete Morgan.

Brian
4 years 2 months ago

I would have to agree. Also, when it’s been stated in the comments that “Everyone in USA Swimming knew about it”, I would be careful of that – One teammate was interviewed, and Pete Morgan.

For Pete Morgan, to hear something like “a rumor of a relationship”, is obviously hearsay and could not be used to accuse someone of rape. A retaliatory suit for defamation of character and/slander would be right behind him.

So if he had concrete proof and actually walked in on them kissing, then he should be obligated at the very least to report it to the girl’s parents.

But there is zero way this turns into a PSU-size scandal. While still rape, in the eyes of the media there is a difference between forcible child rape and rape involving age of consent.

There was no grand coverup, nor any benefit stood to gain by the swimming governing body. And if this was the only case, the legal system itself hindered any public knowledge by USA Swimming of what had transpired.

If the family had refused the settlement and NDA, and he was prosecuted, and/or USA Swimming was made aware, then that’s another story.

Otherwise in terms of repercussions for USAS, it’s a non-story.

Kahuna
4 years 2 months ago

Joe Paterno (good man)

Darcy
4 years 2 months ago

Rick and Pete have been very good friends for almost 40 years – they were college buddies.

Calbearfan
4 years 2 months ago

Absolutely sickening. Get every last one of these rapists off of our pool decks! The grooming and molestation must end now. I don’t care how much money someone offered me- I would be calling the police so it didn’t happen again. Period.

MelanieSwim
4 years 2 months ago

Coach Jeremy Linn spells his name differently. Stop trying to make it look like he’s commenting here.

Brian
4 years 2 months ago

I think he means like the basketball player. Aka Linsanity.

MelanieSwim
4 years 2 months ago

Maybe. But Linn is a Curl-Burke coach. Looks bad for him.

4 years 2 months ago

Ed. Note: We spoke with Coach Jeremy Linn, and the comments purported to be from “Jeremy Lin” were not submitted by him. We have removed comments from “Jeremy Lin” to avoid any confusion or misidentification.

MelanieSwim
4 years 2 months ago

Excellent. Would hate to see a nice guy have any trouble.

Joel Lin
4 years 2 months ago

Apologies to the posters, the name was intended as a bit of a Linsanity joke and I had entirely forgotten the same namesake was Jeremy the swimmer. I also did not realize Jeremy Linn was now a coach in this same program, and most certainly apologize more to him for any inferences, which were not at all intended and are unfortunate.

4 years 2 months ago

FYI –

Molestation Victim Represented by Attorney Robert Allard is Asking USA Swimming to Ban Swim Coach Rick Curl for Life

Victim provides a signed admission by Curl-Burke swim coach Rick Curl, calls USA Swimming’s response insulting to all molestation victims.

SAN JOSE, CA – July 25, 2012 — Molestation victims’ rights attorney Robert Allard is representing a swim coach molestation victim who is asking USA Swimming to ban swim coach Rick Curl for life based on a signed admission by Curl that he molested the then 13 year old swimmer. The victim is now 43. The Washington Post today reported on the molestation allegedly suffered by victim Kelley Currin.

Currin states, “It is disappointing that USA Swimming has known about Rick Curl and his admission for several months now and has chosen to act only when the Washington Post reports the admission. I faxed the settlement agreement and admission by Rick Curl to a USA Swimming investigator in April of this year. I also followed up and communicated via phone with USA Swimming’s Susan Woesnner, the so-called “Athlete Protection Officer”. I know now that Woesnner was giving me lip service by saying they were sympathetic but then going ahead and giving Rick Curl coaching credentials to the US Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. For USA Swimming to tell the media that they just learned of my complaint late last Friday afternoon” (July 20), is an outright lie. There was nothing sent to USA Swimming on July 20 that it did not already have in its possession. The only thing that changed is that the Washington Post got involved. Only then did they give the appearance that they were concerned about my complaint. The fact is that USA Swimming has known about Rick Curl for years.”

Attorney Robert Allard is asking USA Swimming to protect the victim from further abuse by having her recall in detail a painful chapter in her life. Allard states, “USA Swimming and its leaders should resign in disgrace for allowing Curl and other swim coaches to molest young swimmers.” To date, more than 60 USA Swimming coaches have been banned for life for sexually molesting young swimmers.

Currin also states, “Despite Rick Curl’s signed admission, USA Swimming wants me to relive the molestation by going into detail on every sex act committed by Curl. This is insulting to me and to every molestation victim.”

Kahuna
4 years 2 months ago

Bingo

Brian
4 years 2 months ago

“USA Swimming and its leaders should resign in disgrace for allowing Curl and other swim coaches to molest young swimmers.”

Goes to show that no matter how nice the suit, some lawyers are still complete idiots.

A) What would the current heads of USA Swimming been doing back then when the abuse occurred? They weren’t in charge back then…

B) How shall USA Swimming resign in disgrace? Oh by the way, let’s go after USA Track and Field, I guarantee abuse has occurred there too.

Allard, I know you have a huge ego, not to mention most likely a chip on your shoulder because you think you’re the white knight for abuse victims, but cut the crap. You’re not in it for anyone but yourself.

swim coach
4 years 2 months ago

splash of truth… where have you been? site is closed. whats up?

4 years 2 months ago

We’re everywhere but nowhere in particular. We’re preparing for our grand return…just like the Movie “V”!

4 years 2 months ago

FYI –

From http://concussioninc.net/?p=5784

FBI Should Investigate USA Swimming For Cover-Up of Coach Norm Havercroft’s Serial Sex Abuse

Published July 25th, 2012

On the eve of the Olympics, there is a flurry of attention to the scandal of sex abuse, and the cover-up thereof, at USA Swimming. Yesterday MomsTEAM.com rescued from samizdat obscurity my long Yahoo Sports-commissioned-and-spiked article. Today The Washington Post reported allegations against a top coach, Rick Curl, who immediately announced he was taking a leave of absence from his program, Curl-Burke, one of the country’s largest and best-known.

An important next step, I believe, will be the intervention of federal prosecutors. I just asked B. Robert Allard, the San Jose attorney who is representing victims in some of the most explosive cases, whether his client Jancy Thompson has been in contact with any U.S. attorneys’ or Federal Bureau of Investigation offices.

Here’s what Allard told me:

“USA Swimming is well aware that the FBI is looking into Coach Norm Havercroft violating federal laws by transporting Jancy Thompson across state lines for the purpose of engaging in illegal sex acts with a minor.

I also now understand that the FBI is looking into USA Swimming’s actions that allowed Havercroft to continue coaching despite the fact that Havercroft and USSIC [United States Sports Insurance Company, the captive insurer for USA Swimming] paid off a minor swimmer who had filed a molestation civil lawsuit against Havercroft and a USA Swimming member club in 2001. Despite this knowledge, USA Swimming, through its Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, declared under penalty of perjury in 2010 that it had no prior knowledge of any claims against Havercroft.

Our law firm and representatives of Jancy Thompson have been in contact with both the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office on multiple occasions between January 2012 and July of 2012. We are cooperating fully with the requests we have received and will continue to provide any and all information requested by those agencies.”

In California Superior Court, Thompson is alleging years of molestation at the hands of Havercroft, as well as culpability on the part of USA Swimming.

Earlier, in the same jurisdiction, there was a lawsuit by “Jane Doe,” one of the many teen (or younger) abuse victims, across three decades, of sicko coach Andy King. When Jane Doe, with the support of her pastor, came forward, King was finally busted after a long coaching career in three different regions of California and in Washington State. (Now in his 60s, King is serving a 40-year prison term.) Weary of the psychological toll of fighting the hardball tactics of USA Swimming, which has been repeatedly sanctioned by California courts for failure to produce discovery documents, Jane Doe last year agreed to a sealed settlement.

The outline of the Havercroft story is told in Chapter 3 of my short ebook, PENN STATE IN THE POOL: The Cover-Up of the USA Swimming Youth Coach Sex Abuse Scandal, which was published in April.

Thompson filed her action in August 2010, four months after the 20/20 investigation aired on ABC. She says Havercroft, her coach at the West Valley Swim Club in Saratoga, California, abused her from 1998 to 2002, beginning when she was 15.

West Valley Swim Club existed in the first place because Havercroft founded it upon bolting from the Courtside Swim Club in Los Gatos after complaints of sexual predation were lodged in 1996-97. There, two sets of parents said Havercroft forbade parent chaperones on out-of-town trips, had swimmers stay overnight at his house, and had numerous reported instances of massaging or inappropriate touching of his athletes. Seven USA Swimming member coaches and three Pacific Swimming executives were aware of the subsequent investigation, across several years, which was conducted by the San Jose police.

Under USA Swimming’s rules, the criminal investigation of Havercroft should have been accompanied by an administrative probe by the organization’s National Board of Review. Yet USA Swimming, while acknowledging that it had a file on Havercroft, told the complaining parents that it could do nothing.

In 2001, following a Santa Clara County grand jury’s failure to indict Havercroft, one of his former Los Gatos swimmers sued him and the Saratoga club on claims that he molested her as a minor from 1993 through ’96. The case was discussed in depth in a memorandum to the board of directors of United States Sports Insurance Company, the Barbados-based “captive” reinsurance entity of USA Swimming. In my ebook, I reproduce that document. The author of the memo was Eric Peterson, vice president of Phoenix-based Risk Management Services, a consultant whose only clients are in the swimming industry.

According to a deposition in another case against USA Swimming, by a former San Jose police officer who had worked on the parallel criminal file, beginning in 1997, as a member of the Sexual Assault Unit’s child molest detail, the settlement in the first Havercroft-centered lawsuit was for $400,000.

Yet USA Swimming, from executive director Chuck Wielgus on down, has sworn in the Jancy Thompson case that it had no inklingof Havercroft’s abusive ways. You don’t need to be Eliot Ness in order to realize that the FBI would have plenty to chew on.

By email, I’ve requested comment from Wielgus, safe sport director Susan Woessner, and public relations director Karen Linhart. They haven’t answered a query of mine in months.

Irv Muchnick

Chris
4 years 2 months ago

Joe Paterno got his wins from 1998 – 2012 vacated “removing” him from the ranks of the coach with the most wins. I wonder if ASCA will retract his “Coach of The Year” award away from him.

MarkB
4 years 2 months ago

Of course not! Too many other coaches would then have to have theirs taken away, too. Plus, the NCAA is against this sort of thing. ASCA revers great coaches for their world class accomplishments on the deck – anything else that went on is not factored in.

Bill
4 years 2 months ago

I think it is unacceptable, yes, but I think everyone is forgetting that he has a family. He was 6 kids and a wife. I think that the media and others should respect them a little more.

MarkB
4 years 2 months ago

Oh boy, here we go. I was wondering when this defense would pop up. Having six kids and a wife MAKES IT WORSE!! Imagine how he would feel if someone did this to his children or wife – didn’t that cross his mind? Preemptive strike: Even if he had no family then, he does now. When his children hit 13 – 17, did he feel it okay for someone to “love” them in this way?

Coach
4 years 2 months ago

Splash, while respecting Braden’s request, let’s understand one is entitled to defend his or herself before being condemed by one and all. I am neither defending Rick Curl nor am I questioning Mrs Currin, but reserve judgement until all facts are revealed by all parties.

To make a blanket statement regarding the current USA Swimming leadership about actions that occurred three decades ago would be akin to blaming Robert Allard and current attorneys for misdeeds of anyone in the law thirty years ago. While justice should be served, so must due process.

When your postings stray from the specific case being discussed and goes to all of the cases Robert Allard is involved in, it makes one think that the “Splash of Truth” may be Robert Allard himself (hmmm?). In any case, my only hope is that due process is given and once guilt or innocence is determined have the appropriate measure taken.

We are all fans of a great sport and it is paramount that we maitain it’s integrity the best we can. My best wishes go to Coach Curl and the Curl/Burke family along with Mrs Currin and her family.

SadSwimMom
4 years 2 months ago

Thanks, Coach….and well said. I agree that it is an extremely sad situation and I don’t know what the truth is. It is horrible all around. However, the timing of the release of this “news” on the eve of the Olympics is sad as well….and makes me wonder, if after 30 years that others are trying to profit…..whether fame or money.

don
4 years 2 months ago

Really? There is a “right’ and ” wrong” time to talk about sexual abuse ? Your comments are a reflection of the culture that makes it difficult for victims to speak out.

SadSwimMom
4 years 2 months ago

Not at all. A victim should speak as soon as they are able. I am very concerned about the victim…extremely concerned. And hope that her speaking out will bring some justice. In fact, so sad that the coach was able to keep coaching all those years. Ick!

cb
4 years 4 days ago

I am certainly a fan of a great sport and will continue to be….but “Curl/Burke family”???…I’m ashamed that I was ever associated with such a “family”… lead by a self-admitted child rapist. Certainly no the type of “family” that I want my daughters to ever be a part of.

4 years 2 months ago

FYI

San Jose Mercury News
Monday, July 23, 2012

Today, Penn State University was handed an unprecedented punishment by the NCAA for its role in the Joe Paterno – Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. This week, the Olympic Games begin in London featuring a USA Swimming team tarnished by the largest child molestation scandal in United States sports history.

With more than 50 coaches already banned for life for sexually molesting minor swimmers and many more still coaching at local swim clubs, not a single individual or board member at USA Swimming has been held accountable.

It is time for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to step in and clean house at USA Swimming by demanding the immediate resignations of its Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, his entire leadership team, and the Board of Directors. All of these individuals have played a role in covering up the molestation of young swimmers and creating a culture at USA Swimming which is far deeper than the one that plagued Penn State.

The culture that allowed USA Swimming coach Andy King to molest 14 year old Jane Doe in San Jose is the direct result of decades of inaction by USA Swimming and goes back to the days of Mitch Ivey when he was having sexual relations with his underage swimmers in Santa Clara, California in the 1980′s.

To understand how this culture can flourish, one need only look at the individuals in charge of USA Swimming. Wielgus effectively thwarted any investigation of King by ordering that a swimmer’s complaint of sex abuse be kept “confidential” in 2002. Wielgus then attempted to deceive the American public on ESPN by stating that King was not even on USA Swimming’s “radar” until he was arrested in 2010 for child molestation. He repeated this misrepresentation under penalty of perjury in legal documents.

Perhaps the biggest insult of all to sex abuse victims is that Wielgus and USA Swimming have shown absolutely no remorse for their callous and indifferent behavior. When given the opportunity to offer an apology on ABC’s “20/20″, Wielgus appeared incredulous that the interviewer had the audacity to ask such a question and quipped “You want me to apologize?”

USA Swimming’s leadership continues to foster a culture that blames and intimidates victims while going to great lengths to protect pedophile coaches, even it if means advancing false and misleading information. This is the same mentality that led to the Penn State tragedy, except that we are not talking about one coach going back years but dozens of coaches going back decades.

If the USOC refuses to clean house, then Congress, which created the USOC, must step in and protect our kids.

By Robert Allard
Robert Allard, law firm of Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, was the attorney for Jane Doe in her civil case against USA Swimming. Mr. Allard has been honored as California Lawyer of the Year in 2012 for his work in exposing the USA Swimming cover up and sexual molestation scandal.

4 years 2 months ago

FYI

Here is a link to an excellent article that highlights the history and USA Swimming’s corruption and dirty tactics.

http://www.momsteam.com/poisoned-waters-sex-abuse-by-male-coaches-of-female-swimmers-continues-despite-USA-Swimming-efforts

SteveK
4 years 2 months ago

For what it’s worth, Curl’s lawyer at the time, Mike Mason, is currently a Circuit Court Judge in Montgomery County

4 years 2 months ago

Unbelievable…

Shirley
4 years 2 months ago

The person in charge of USAS in 1986 was Ray Essick not Chuck Weilgus. Weilgus is a swimming outsider and had no idea who Curl was in 1986. As to those press releases allegedly quoting Currin, it’s classic Allard-speak. If Allard and his publicity firm (splash) had any interest in getting rid of pedophile coaches instead of tooting their own horns at the expense of USAS they’d advise Currin (Davies) to testify at the Board of Review. That’s was good attorneys do!

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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