Monday, October 28, 2013

All across the "swim-osphere" is the mugshot of a young woman named Stephanie North banned for life by USA Swimming.

First and foremost: presume her innocent. An orange jumpsuit does not make you guilty.

It was April 19, 2012 and a Canadian Coach in Ontario named Trent McNicol was accused of child molestation. He had been coaching for for the Whitby Dolphins and had produced 40 provincial champions over the course of his career. McNicol was named Ontario swim coach of the year in 2001 and had other accolades as well but on that fateful April day the bottom fell out from underneath him:

From the 
"...When he was charged, with no criminal record or previous allegations, McNicol was held for 24 hours and granted bail under conditions including avoiding places where children under 16 might gather. That meant parks — and swimming pools.

He had to temporarily leave his family behind in Whitby and live in his native Brantford under the supervision of his father. Durham police issued a news release with his photo, inviting other victims to come forward. None ever did. The story was splashed all over the news.

McNicol lost his job of six years with the Whitby Dolphins Swim Club. Swim Canada, Swim Ontario, the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association all summarily revoked his credentials.

Even this blog jumped in and I must say I was bit accusatory till one day a year or so later I got a letter detailing how Coach McNicol's life was devastated and how how the charges were found to be without merit. I immediately corrected the very blogpost I made on the subject.

Mr McNicol's later said the following:
“To have it behind me is great,” McNicol said in an interview. “But I now have to spend the next — who knows? — six months, 20 years, rebuilding what I once had.”


Anonymous said...

What's new? You did it to me even though the other party was found to be wrong, you'll do it to others.

Tony Austin said...

Who were you accused of molesting?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's easy to jump to conclusions without any proof, even after investigations find not a shred of truth to accusations. Hell, it's easy to destroy one person without feeling any pangs from the conscience. USA Swimming does it too, so at least you're in good company.

Anonymous said...

I am the first anonymous commenter. I was not accused of molesting anyone. But the end result was the same. Lies spread, I lose my job and reputation.