USA Swimming Scandal – USA Swimming Response to Schubert Story

by timothyjoyce


USA Swimming finally came out with a statement late Tuesday regarding the lawsuit filed against Hall of Fame swimming coach Mark Schubert, a story that was first reported here, exclusively for WBAL. 

The bulk of the statement reads as follows: 

USA Swimming is not a party to the lawsuit between Dia Rianda and Mark Schubert; however, because that suit makes various gratuitous accusations against USA Swimming, we will address the false premise underlying those accusations.

The resolution of the relationship between Mark Schubert and USA Swimming absolutely did not involve any cover-up of alleged sexual misconduct by Sean Hutchison or any other person. Rather, because of USA Swimming’s commitment to safe sport, the agreement between USA Swimming and Mr. Schubert specifically required that if Schubert had, or in the future, received reliable information involving a sexual misconduct Code of Conduct violation by a coach or other member of USA Swimming, he would bring that information to USA Swimming in writing and would testify at a National Board of Review proceeding if requested to do so by USA Swimming.

Regarding Bill Jewell, USA Swimming cannot comment on ongoing investigations. However, as a matter of process, when USA Swimming initiates a coach investigation, it immediately notifies the employing club.  As per the Amateur Sports Act, membership status cannot be affected without the opportunity for a hearing. Employment decisions during investigations are at the discretion of the employing club. 

The statement then concludes with a one-paragraph boilerplate description of their Safe Sport program. 

Among the “gratuitous accusations” that their statement does not deny are the following: 

·      The fact that a settlement between Mark Schubert and USA Swimming indeed exists

·      The fact that Schubert was paid at least $625,000. Why would they grant such a large sum if Schubert didn’t have merit with his demands?

·      The fact that Schubert was prohibited from publicly talking about either FAST (Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team) or sex abuse issues in general, that he instead was required to take information to their National Board of Review. By so doing, USA Swimming could basically control how the information was released

·      The information provided by Dia Rianda, the complainant, about Schubert’s – and USA Swimming’s – knowledge of Rick Curl

·      The information provided by Dia Rianda to USA Swimming regarding William Jewell

·      The fact that allegations continue to emerge about Sean Hutchison’s behavior – USA Swimming did not state that Hutchison is above suspicion. They did not categorically clear his name. 

Also, by stating that Sean Hutchison had nothing to do with any aspect of the Schubert settlement, it appears that USA Swimming is very comfortable that Schubert does not want to put in jeopardy the settlement he was rewarded and that USA Swimming doesn’t want to accuse Schubert of lying. For the time being at least, look for Schubert and USA Swimming to put up a quiet by united front. A very tenuous peace. When depositions are heard we are likely to inch closer to the truth on this matter. 

I’ve invoked All the President’s Men several times while writing about the USA Swimming sex abuse story and it’s instructive once again to refer to that most famous of American scandals; this response from USA Swimming is full of non-denial denials. 

Rick Curl Hearing: In a few hours time, USA Swimming’s National Board of Review will be discussing the Rick Curl case. As has been widely reported, Curl sexually abused Kelley Currin during the 1980’s and paid hush money to keep the issue quiet. The likely outcome is a lifetime suspension. If that is the case, that is the right thing. But the key question continues to linger, regarding accountability – who knew what and when about Rick Curl and why was nothing done about it? The ongoing investigation into the entire abuse scandal will not cease until the issue of accountability is satisfied. 

Currin herself came out with a statement late Tuesday regarding the hearing, as well as the Schubert lawsuit:

I have stated all along that numerous people in the swim world knew what Rick Curl did to me. It was the worst kept secret. I read the lawsuit filed against Mark Schubert. I am angry in reading that USA Swimming failed terribly when they had an opportunity to act against Rick Curl when coach Schubert informed Chuck Wielgus on numerous occasions about Curl’s molestation of me.

The fact that Chuck Wielgus and USA Swimming allegedly tried to cover up for Rick Curl by forcing Mark Schubert to accept hush money in return for signing a confidential agreement is outrageous. If USA Swimming has any integrity they would fire Wielgus and the rest of the staff that continues to protect sexual predators.” 

Stay tuned. This entire sordid mess is about to get worse in the coming weeks. 

A lot worse.