With that in mind, this brief is still an extraordinarily hostile document towards the offending litigants and is a serious indictment on USA Swimming, John Leonard's American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) and the culture therein. These organizations have summarily been indicted for not just dragging their feet but purposely stonewalling background checks among other rules that would have prevented a lot of travail and suffering.
The accusations below are made by a current USA Swimming Board Member quoted within the brief:
Pages 13-through-15 of the alleged brief:
Jane Doe, by her Father and next friend,Let it be known that I had endorsed David Berkoff to be elected back onto the USA Swimming board but once elected, it was as if all of the above rhetoric was seemingly forgotten. [Backpedal insult involving jumping into a speeding car moving in the opposite direction at very great speed deleted...]
United States Swimming, Inc.
Metropolitan School District of Lawrence
John Diercks, and
Amanda Juntunen Cox,
Line 88: [...] USA Swimming Knew Its Coaches Were Sexually Abusing USA Swimming Young Girls, But Consciously And Recklessly Refused To Adopt Any Athlete Protection Policies, And Even Enabled Predator Coaches And Covered-Up Their Crimes By Refusing To Timely Investigate Molestation Complaints And Moving Sexual Predator Coaches To Another City
88 Continued: At various points since at least the early 1990’s well intentioned athletes and volunteers inside USA Swimming attempted to address the rampant sexual abuse in the sport. In the early 1990’s, then USA Swimming Board of Director David Berkoff (a former gold metal Olympic winner and now attorney in Montana who has regained a position on the USA Swimming Board) headed a “sexual abuse subcommittee” for child protection, principally a thorough background screening program on coaches. The subcommittee’s recommendations were staunchly opposed by the swim coaches lobby called the American Swim Coach Association (“ASCA”) and its Executive Director John Leonard. Mr. Berkoff stated:
“The issue of sex abuse of swimmers was something that I raised to the (USS) BOD in 1990 or 1991. I suggested background checks and a formal code of conduct. That was shot down by coaches as unfeasible and intrusive. As you all know, it took 7 years from the date that we formed an abuse subcommittee in 1992 to get a code of conduct in place [in 1999] and 13 years to get background checks implemented [in 2006]. A few of you have mentioned that you made similar recommendations to USAS and that these requests fell on deaf ears.”
USA Swimming Knew Its Coaches Were Sexually Abusing USA Swimming Young Girls, But Consciously And Recklessly Refused To Adopt Any Athlete Protection Policies, And Even Enabled Predator Coaches And Covered-Up Their Crimes By Refusing To Timely Investigate Molestation Complaints And Moving Sexual Predator Coaches To Another City
88. At various points since at least the early 1990’s well intentioned athletes and volunteers inside USA Swimming attempted to address the rampant sexual abuse in the sport.
“I am also a former swimmer and swim coach who has witnessed the very slow reaction of USA Swimming to sexual abuse problems.....The problem as I saw it at the time [when serving on the USS Board of Directors in the early 1990’s] was that there was a paralysis of action. No one wanted to report it because they feared either political repercussions or a slander law suit. Perhaps this fear was understandable since there were no rules, no guidelines, no code of conduct and no discussion until relatively recently. I co-chaired a USA Swimming co-committee in 1992 or 1993 when I was an athlete representative on the BOD. We discussed the issue of abuse and what to do. All on the subcommittee were very concerned. John Leonard, the now President of ASCA [American Swimming Coaches Association], was on the subcommittee and he was pretty critical in moving the issue to the forefront. Our committee did compose the initial abuse guidelines. One of the ideas that I had at the time was to require background checks. I recall that it was not feasible because of technology and cost. I resigned from the BOD in 1994 for other reasons.” (emphasis added).
89. In yet another email, Mr. Berkoff is critical of both USS Executive Director Chuck Weilgus and the manner in which USS has failed to investigate sex abuse claims against its member coaches (see Exhibits A and B). States Mr. Berkoff:
“There is no way that I can support Chuck Wielgus being in charge of the decision to investigate a charge of abuse or not. That decision must be made by an independent entity. Any claim should be investigated as is the law in Title VII sexual harassment claims.”
There has not been a public peep out of Mr. Berkoff in regards to any of the above accusations since taking on his new position other than to endorse USA Swimming policies and it's CEO. Now his words are being used against USA Swimming and he is going to have to clarify, retract, or endorse his accusations. I personally think it will be a reasonable question to ask Mr. Berkoff how he feels now or what has possibly changed since being elected.
As for the American Swimming Coaches Association or (ASCA) - if the accusations below are true, how can this guy actually look at himself in the mirror each morning? Now here is why I say that:
"... Line 101: When the official Code of Conduct was enacted in 2009, the language relating to mandatory reporting changed, again at the urging of Mr. Leonard and the American Swim Coaches Association (“ASCA”), to when a coach is “convicted” of a crime as opposed to being “under investigation” by a police agency. ..."
Convicted? I am all for the presumption of innocence but I am also inclined to believe in "safety first" especially when a potential witness is in close proximity to alleged predator. There is this concept called a "suspension." However, I am more inclined to believe that John Leonard; (the same guy who threatened to sue me), cared more for the coaches than he did for those being coached. Why is it that the idea of suspending a coach under police investigation was seemingly out of the question for this guy? The kids being coached should always be the focus. Why wasn't it the focus in 2009 for ASCA and USA Swimming?
Now, here is the conclusion - Perhaps if both organizations put the kids first instead of spending inordinate amount of resources via lawyers trying to figure out how to pass the buck and not get sued, perhaps they would never have to worry about getting sued, or passing the buck in the first place?
We seemingly have two organizations here that are more concerned with profits rather than protection and that is the sort of culture that got USA Swimming into this mess in the first place.
When I get a brief that is time stamped I will provide a link for download.