Wednesday, October 03, 2012

See Swimming world Article and WBAL: North Baltimore Aquatic Club coach accused of sexual molestation over a period of decades.

I have no details why but assume that one or more of the following conditions occurred:

  1. They were not accurate
  2. They were only partially accurate
  3. They could not be verified
  4. WBAL did not want to defend them

What this tells me is that WBAL is too risky of a source to ever trust.

If these articles appear elsewhere and the publisher will take responsibility for them and be willing to defend them then I will link to them again.

The North Baltimore Aquatic Club, (NBAC) home to Michael Phelps and Bob Bowman did everything right when informed that a particular coach; (his name remains anonymous at this time), was accused of sexual molestation.

Once NBAC was notified, the club representative suspended or fired this coach, picked up the phone, called the victim's family to tell them that the police would be contacting them, and finally that USA Swimming would be called.

WBAL is reporting that once USA Swimming was approached with these developments USA Swimming did not bother to contact the victim even though this victim had contacted USA Swimming months before with the same allegations. WBAL is stating that USA Swimming refused to take up the complaints because the victim wanted to remain anonymous. This policy has since changed according to WBAL but what about this "Gold Standard" of protection that USA Swimming has been hard selling it's members for the past two years?

This is no Gold Standard" and it is not even a "tin standard." More like a "paper standard" designed to protect USA Swimming from lawsuits rather than offer real protection. It seems so obvious to contact the victim with a declaration that an investigation is forthcoming.

From WBAL:

"... In what has tragically been the standard operating procedure of USA Swimming, there was no follow-up investigation from Colorado Springs. Not one phone call or email was sent to the alleged victim who came forward. Additionally, this same victim approached USA Swimming months prior but was told nothing could be done because she wished to remain anonymous (USA Swimming has apparently changed that policy and now accepts anonymous reporting). 
For USA Swimming not to investigate such a serious charge, especially since it involved a coach associated with this most famed club is staggering – and made even more astounding considering that NBAC acted in such swift fashion.  
NBAC is the literal and symbolic home of United States Swimming athletes. Michael Phelps is the face of the sport and in addition, several other Olympic medalists have trained at the club, among them – Theresa Andrews, Anita Nall, Beth Botsford, Katie Hoff and Allison Schmitt. ..." 


Anonymous said...

It really makes you wonder what's wrong with swim coaches. How many of them are weirdos, paedos and child molesters? One of them is even bold enough to molest kids in the most powerful swim club in USA. I think Bowman and Phelps should really voice their opinion about this or the business with MP swim school and Foundation will be in jeopardy.

Tony Austin said...

[UPDATE: Article has been taken down - when I find out why I will post the reason or perhaps print a retraction if needed. - Waiting to find out.]

Chris DeSantis said...


Don't get too caught up in this and generalize about coaches in general. A lot of abuses that have taken place over a long period of time are coming to light. Coaches and teachers and others in similar professions are more likely to sexually abuse children. This does not mean that most swim coaches are deviants. We have some bad people in our ranks and a lot of people have looked the other way.

I agree that I would love to see prominent coaches take a stand (Bowman among them) and speak out on this issue, but for the most part they have been silent.

Tony Austin said...

I think if I ran a club I would have a female coach the girls and a male coach the males.

If a parent wanted he daughter to swim with the boys then the female coach would have to be always present at meetings.

Anonymous said...

The article has been reposted and was not edited.

Anonymous said...

Post is back up and verified.

Anonymous said...

Joyce's article is back up with the following lead-in from WBAL:
Editor's note. Due to the serious nature of this story, WBAL news removed Tim Joyce's story from the website earlier today to allow us to do our 'due dilligence.' After personally interviewing unimpeachable sources who corrborated the information Tim wrote the decision was made to return the story to the web with absolutely no changes. Merrie Street, WBAL AM News Director.

Did y'all see email USA Swimming sent to their board members and LSC chairs, etc framing all their talking points? Or FAQs as they call them.

Anonymous said...

Joyce's article is back up with the following lead-in from WBAL:
Editor's note. Due to the serious nature of this story, WBAL news removed Tim Joyce's story from the website earlier today to allow us to do our 'due dilligence.' After personally interviewing unimpeachable sources who corrborated the information Tim wrote the decision was made to return the story to the web with absolutely no changes. Merrie Street, WBAL AM News Director.

Did y'all see email USA Swimming sent to their board members and LSC chairs, etc framing all their talking points? Or FAQs as they call them.

Tony Austin said...

No, I didn't. Can you forward them and I will publish?

Anonymous said...

Was the email anything like the one denying a settlement with Marc Schubert?

If so, perhaps "retraction points" would be a more accurate label.

Anonymous said...

Tim Joyce, the reporter, on the web today at at 1:05 est to discuss allegations.

Tony Austin said...

I wonder if he will reveal the name?

Anonymous said...

Here is the email sent to the team

Dear NBAC Families,
This morning an article appeared on by Tim Joyce concerning a former NBAC coach. Mr. Joyce has been covering USA Swimming and that organization’s response to allegations against coaches of improper behavior involving swimmers. A link to the article is here

While I cannot comment on the allegations, I can assure you that the safety, health and well being of our athletes, your sons and daughters, are paramount to all of the staff at NBAC. NBAC is committed to creating, and protecting, a safe and healthy environment for all of our participants.

Robert A. Bowman
Head Coach/CEO

Tony Austin said...

Thank you very much. When the name ever comes out and it will if the person is dirty, at least the club's new owners can say they washed their hands of this guy.

Even the WBAL article concurs. I am going to do a blogpost on the letter and presume it's real.

Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

you're not even going to link to the follow-up on the issue?

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree that enough is enough, and we crossed that line a long time ago.

We also missed the boat with elections this September. We re-elected most of the same executive board that has allowed all of this to happen. We are stuck with them for 2 more years.

So what can we do? As a coach, I don't know how I can get Chuck fired. The executive board demonstrated that they have no intentions of making any leadership change. What can we do?

All my complaining is meaningless. We need a leadership change, but I don't know how we can get one. This makes me sick, because I love this sport and it should be a safe haven for kids. That is not the top priority with our Board of Directors. Their actions demonstrate that.

Tony Austin said...

You nailed it.

I had a two-hour online chat in between projects all about this and it is nothing but a sour outlook. These are the two biggest problems form my standpoint.

1. Chuck is signed up till 2016 and no one will vote him out two-years before Rio. However, a membership vote is the proper way to "removed him or improve him."

Thus getting in a new board who guides him in the proper direction or finds a better candidate is the best option. The civil law or the attorney strategy of trying to find Chuck with a "dead girl or a live boy is not going to work. All they will accomplish is to right the wrongs of what happened to their clients.

2. Pedophile coaches now have a "rape and escape" clause and it goes like this: Once a failed coach is under investigation what they will do is simply resign from USA Swimming, fail to have a board of review, and all USA Swimming will do is put them on a flagged list and discontinue the investigation.

The board of directors should tell Chuck that a Board of Review must be held even if it is in absentia and then declare the offending coach banned for life. It should be part of the coaching certification contract much like an end user agreement at Facebook where you sign away most of your rights including your 4th and 5th amendment.

BTW, the press release USA Swimming put out today is ignorant and in my opinion and gave me a higher profile than I probably deserve. I presume they were talking about me since you can count all the critical bloggers on one hand. One person told me it was probably directed mostly at the Splash people and that both my ego and vanity was clouding my opinion. Was not a good idea to challenge the bloggers.

Some of my best friends are bloggers.

Anonymous said...

USA Swimming's managament makes me so angry. I don't understand why parents aren't more outraged.

Bowman's letter, on the other hand, gives me a lot of hope.

Tony Austin said...

I understand that a lot of parents are upset though.

Anonymous said...

We won't get a new board in until 2014. Elections were held in September 2012 at Convention. The executive board remains the same (except for the treasurer who was term limited). We are stuck. Instead of being embarrassed by all these cover ups, the board members are patting themselves on the back for a wonderful showing in London. News Flash- You had nothing to do with this!

We are in trouble, and I do not see a solution.

Anonymous said...

To anon,

Why parents aren't more outraged -

Most parents have no idea of what goes on behind the scenes. Most kids have a good experience with USA Swimming and most parents are happy as long as their kids are happy. Most parents do not have a clue about the LSC's and USA Swimming. (My kids had been swimming for two years - there was a problem so I contacted the LSC office - they couldn't help - so I sent a fax to USA Swimming (so I thought)(My LSC swim guide had a Board of Directors page that I thought was USA Swimming) a couple of years later, I read my fax and realized it went to my LSC (good thing I didn't sign it - for fear of retaliation my fax stated - the problem was then resolved.

Every club and LSC should have a link to USA Swimming. My LSC has a tiny link under the LSC address at the bottom of the page.

It takes years to understand the complexity of the organization and the connections. Most families join for a few years and then leave. Most people are content with doing as they're told and not asking questions.

Then there are those who ask questions - those "deemed to be a liability risk for the club that cannot be tolerated". The club was divided over allegations of sexual abuse - I first heard about it around 2006. Coach A, B, C moved on to other institutions. Throughout the years, I kept hearing that Coach A sexually abused - even from a victim. Throughout the years I heard that an officer of the LSC (Club board member) always protected Coach A. Then in 2010 allegations arose involving coach B. Coach B denied the allegations and said Coach C should be looked at. The club is losing business to Coach B (are the allegations true or is it all about the money)(my minor daughter took private lessons from Coach B in 2009 and the board and coaches knew)(same pool). Coach D leaves abruptly, why? Coach E is hired, but why was he fired from his previous job? Coach F is hired, but why would inquiring about his previous experience cause problems?

Last I knew, Coach A was coaching at a College. Coach B was giving private lessons. Coach C was coaching at a club. Coach D was not coaching. Coach E left the club, was fired from the next club, now is at a high school. Coach F is at a club.

What the hell is going on? Why is the parent who asks the questions the "Liability Risk"? Why is it acceptable to retaliate against the kid because of the questions? The club gets rid of the liability risk by getting rid of the kid!

Most parents have learned to keep their mouths shut for fear of retaliation against their kids. Most parents do not have the time, energy, or resources to fight a huge organization and simply vanish when they've had enough.

Most people live in their own little worlds and do not want to be bothered with things that do not directly affect their families.

Tony Austin said...

Keep this in mind: A pebble dropped into pond will send ripples the farthest shores.

I am discouraged too but there s always a way. Here is what I am thinking: I should put my money where my and time where my mouth is.

These guys can be voted out and the only way they will is if people step forward in each zone and do something for their local LSCs. This includes fund raisers, finding sponsors for poor families, donating time and listening to what the LSC voters need and would like to see.

Next, no President of USA swimming should ever run unopposed. That's a dictatorship. Do you know how many Congressman got into office with like six votes to their name because their opponent died?

Next, contacting USA Swimming early and often with Opinions and questions and encouraging others to do so. When enough families get the cold shoulder, they will get it.

Please don't give, please organize instead.

Tony Austin said...

Anon at 7:53 PM

Do we now each other?

Anonymous said...

Geez - A 16 year old boy just got added to USA Swimming's banned list.

Tony Austin said...

For real?

Anonymous said...

Yes - for real.

The list was updated today. Chase Panem was added. News article states that in June 2011 at the age of 15, Chase sexually assaulted a 6 year old boy in a park restroom. Chase was working out with his swim team and the little boy was attending summer camp.

Very, Very SAD!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW - WBAL pulled the article again and according to Concussion, Inc. pulled all of the articles dealing with the Swimming corruption!


Tony Austin said...

WBAL pulled the article? When stuff like that happens, it makes me look so bad.

I am going to research it myself over the weekend and edit this post.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the facts that we know are in dispute at all.

That Tim Joyce's articles have been pulled has more to do with USA Swimming's legal threats than reality.

The reality is that USA Swimming does have a sexual abuse problem that stems from Chuck Wielgus & Co. failing to enact and ENFORCE effective safeguards.

Wielgus will use any tactic to protect the revenue stream for himself and others. Child safety is barely even a consideration. Look at how they tried to hide Uchiyama. Before the 20/20 report, we openly talked about Will Colebank's child porn firing and now we deny and ignore that it ever happened.

As a governing body and a coaching group we have become weak, spineless and borderline evil. I think you are doing a superb job and only wish more people would stand up and wave the BS flag.

Tony Austin said...

All of the WBAL articles got pulled - HEnce I have removed the link and published an update.

Irvin Munchnik wrote me a letter telling me that he may publish the articles and if he does I will put the links back up.

Tony Austin said...

Anonymous, If you have a reference that WBAL was threatened by USA Swimming, I will so post it!

Tony Austin said...

Spoke with two people I respect, I undid my edits, the post is restored.