Saturday, October 06, 2012

The 'Baltimore Sun' picks up the NBAC sex abuse story but misses the loophole in USA Swimming's child protection policy!

WBAL pulled down their North Baltimore Aquatics Club (NBAC) sex abuse story this past week but the Baltimore Sun has now put up their researched version and is standing by this account. This gives Timothy Joyce of WBAL a boost credibility-wise but neither the Baltimore Sun nor WBAL have noticed a critical flaw within USA Swimming's child protection policy.

That flaw is that USA Swimming will abandon an investigation on a suspect coach if that coach resigns from USA Swimming before or during that investigation. In other words, or to be blunt to drive this point home, there is a "rape-and-escape" loophole within their policy. This was mentioned first at Swimming World early this week...

From Swimming World:

"... Joyce reports that NBAC also alerted the authorities, and then alerted USA Swimming regarding the allegations. Joyce then called USA Swimming on the carpet for not beginning a full investigation. USA Swimming countered in its letter stating that it had no jurisdiction over the case because it happened before USA Swimming's existence, and also that the coach is no longer a member of USA Swimming and is also no longer under its jurisdiction. ..." 

There it is in bold face type above, USA Swimming will end an investigation if a coach resigns or exits effectively USA Swimming's jurisdiction. Consequently this allows the potential coach or coaches to escape the banned list or an investigation by sending a quickly drawn up letter of resignation.

Note, if a coach is prosecuted for a sex crime and convicted in a court of law or a judgement is rendered against the coach in a civil court, I believe this coach would automatically be placed on the banned list. But consider situations like Rick Curl or potentially this NBAC coach who is no longer a member... no longer under its jurisdiction. This coach may have successfully utilized the "rape/escape" clause if he indeed abused a swimmer will probably be placed on a secret "flagged" list thus preventing potential swim teams outside of USA Swimming the luxury of protecting their swimmers.

From the Baltimore Sun:

The coach was forced out of the position within 48 hours after club officials became aware of the allegation last fall, and the club contacted Baltimore County authorities, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

USA Swimming said it first received information about the alleged 1975 incident in August 2010, when a woman described the incident in a voice mail message. But the alleged victim did not follow up with an investigator.

Steven A. Allen, a Towson-based lawyer for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, said he would not comment about former or present employees or coaches for privacy reasons.

"We follow the guidelines of USA Swimming, and we follow all legal guidelines," Allen said. "We are always vigilant to behavior that may be inappropriate in order to detect it or prevent it. It's our goal that a safe environment be provided, and we do everything we can do to ensure that there is a safe environment."

It was unclear whether any charges have been filed in the alleged incident. 

When a user signs up for a social network site like Facebook, Linkedin or otherwise, they sign an end user license agreement or a EULA which the users effectively agree to thereby giving up a large percentage of their legal rights in exchange for using the service. There is no reason why USA Swimming cannot have a coach upon certification sign an EULA which which void this rape-and-escape loophole.

1 comment:

Swimming Exposed said...

An argument could be made that the "rape and escape" dodge should not work. Rule 304.3.7(ii) addresses "any other adult participating in any capacity... (whether such adult is a member or not)" with regards to sexual conduct.

This is a mandatory report under Article 306.1 and Article 306.4 states "Neither civil nor criminal statutes of limitation apply to reports of cases of sexual abuse."

By these rules we believe that NBAC's report was mandatory and it doesn't matter if this was 37 years or 37 minutes ago.

In terms of the appropriate action if date is not important, USA Swimming must investigate this and act on findings under the "Prospective Member" aspect of Article 304.2.

USA Swimming seems to be forgetting its own rules in an attempt to distance itself from yet another abuse incident. (Is that 657th this year?)

We're waving the Bull Squeeze flag on this disappointing but predictable stance by Chuck Wielgus & Company.