Tuesday, August 07, 2012

WBAL: "...How Long Was Coach Rick Curl On USA Swimming's Radar as a Potential Sex Abuser?"

[UPDATE: The Chuck Wielgus deposition quoted below took place in 2010, not 2012. Why didn't USA Swimming look into this guy 2-years ago?]

Coach Rick Curl paid out and signed a civil settlement with a swimmer who he was coaching named Kelly Davies. She  accused Curl of sexually abusing her as a 13-year-old swimmer till she was 16-years-of-age. Chuck Wielgus testified that he had heard a rumor and such about this abuse. That he knew who the coach was yet never bothered to have him investigated.

WBAL posted an article questioning as to when did USA Swimming suspect there may have been a problem with Rick Curl?

From 1090 WBAL:

The agreement between Curl and the Davies-Currin family does not amount to an admission of guilt on Curl’s part; yet the attachment to the agreement contains graphic and detailed descriptions of Curl’s sexual involvement with Davies-Currin, accusations that Curl has never denied. The acts include performing sexual acts on Davies-Currin in her home, on the road at swim meets, and elsewhere while she was between the ages of 13 and 16. 
After all, to put matters in perspective, in February, 2009, USA Swimming acted in extremely swift fashion when they suspended Michael Phelps for 90 days for taking a bong hit – something that was not even a technical violation of their policies. In sworn testimony during a deposition in 2010, USA Executive Director Chuck Wielgus states that he was at least aware of rumors involving Curl, the lauded coach:  
Question: Is there a file on Rick Curl? 
Wielgus: Not — not that I’m — not that I’m aware of. 
Question: Are you aware of any settlement that Rick Curl made with his alleged victim? 
Wielgus: I have — I have heard, just within the past three to four weeks, that there was some sort of a settlement between Rick Curl and a victim or a victim’s family. And that’s the first I heard of that. 
Question: Do you know why he moved to Australia? 
Wielgus: I don’t. 
Question: Do you know if he moved to avoid criminal prosecution? 
Wielgus: I’ll give you the same answer I gave to the last question. 
Question: Okay. And you said you learned in the last three to four weeks about some kind of settlement? 
Wielgus: I shouldn’t say I learned. I heard a rumor. I — I would equate learning as knowing for sure, as opposed to – 
Question: Heard a rumor? 
Wielgus: — hearing something. Right, heard a rumor. 
Question: Who did you hear the rumor from? 
Wielgus: That’s a good question. I don’t recall who I heard the rumor from, but it — I don’t recall who I heard the rumor from. I can’t say. 
Question: But the rumor was just to the extent that he paid — he paid a settlement himself, personally? Is that what the rumor was? 
Wielgus: No, no. I just — I — I think I heard it in the context of somebody saying that they had seen his name on a blog or something to that effect.

Even taking Wielgus at his word, that he only heard rumors about a “settlement” regarding Curl, it utterly defies belief that the Executive Director of USA Swimming wouldn’t have investigated further rumors of the worst nature about a coaching legend, a man responsible for gold medals representing the United States’ national swim team. Either Wielgus acted irresponsibly by not following up on the Curl matter or, more bluntly, there was a cover-up initiated - a lie of omission - to shield the organization from taking another blow to its reputation. 

There was suppose to be an emergency hearing regarding Rick Curl once the Washington Post story broke. But the hearing did not take place. Instead Rick Curl said he would accept a provisional suspension and wait for a National Board of Review.

On face value one might think, "okay, he is suspended, no harm no foul" move on to the national board of review and not having the hearing. However, the code as specified in the Ted Stevens act states that you HAVE TO HAVE THE HEARING so the evidence can be put out there.

Background: The current rule governing matters which are sent on the Board of Review after investigation is codified in Section 405.3, which provides as follows:

DISPOSITION AFTER INVESTIGATION—after the initial investigation has been completed, the Executive Director may decide to initiate a complaint in the name of USA Swimming by filing the complaint with the Chair of the National Board of Review and requesting that a hearing on the complaint be conducted. The Executive Director may also seek an emergency hearing as set forth in 405.4. [See this USA Swimming PDF Link for exact 405.4 rule]  If the Executive Director does not decide to initiate a complaint in the name of USA Swimming, then the Executive Director may (1) cause further investigation to be conducted into the alleged violations (2) seek to mediate the complaint or (3) advise the complaining party that while USA Swimming will not initiate a complaint in its own name, the complaining party may still file his/her complaint directly with the Chair of the National Board of Review. If the complaining party chooses to go forward with the complaint, the Chair of the National Board of Review may then decide to either assign the matter for hearing or dismiss the complaint.

In this case the matter was set for hearing thus requiring publication of results within 21 days. The membership is entitled to the results and the evidence presented therein. There is no provision for Mr. Curl to call the shots, ask for and receive a delay in justice and then perhaps complain later that he was forced into agreeing to waive it at "gun point".

The losers in all of this, of course, are past and future victims of sexual abuse. History tragically has a way of repeating itself at USA Swimming. This is yet another example of why things will never change unless USA Swimming’s leaders who do this nonsense have been removed from office.

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