Friday, March 25, 2011

Chuck Wielgus Doesn't Know Anything (and other things I learned from the USA Swimming Depositions)

In the past 24 hours, "Splash of Truth" (hereafter I will to he/she/them as 'SOT') has begun posting the depositions from Jane Doe vs USA Swimming. After giving each of the posted depositions at least a cursory reading, I am struck by a consistent theme throughout.  They are extremely boring reading, mostly because the witnesses being deposed seem to have a very foggy memory about anything related to the case.

As of this posting, SOT has posted four depositions. One, by Chuck Wielgus, is in two parts, alongside depositions by Christine Schemmel, Ross Wales and Ron Van Pool. Schemmel, for those unaware, is officially titled "Business Operations Administrative Assistant" and was charged by Wielgus with taking any sexual abuse complaints to the law firm HRO for investigation. Wales is deposed as a former USA Swimming Board member, the same for Van Pool.

Wielgus' is by the far the longest and most confounding deposition. It's pretty amazing the things that he claims not to know throughout the deposition. Let me excerpt a few exchanges as they appear in the deposition. In the first one Allard (the attorney representing the anonymous party suing USA Swimming) is asking Wielgus the names of USA Swimming Board members, whom he reports to as Executive Director. I've inserted their names for clarity in excerpting these exchanges:

Wielgus: And there are -- Would you like me  to try to name the others?
Allard: Yes, please.
Wielgus: I may fail this quiz.
Allard: That's okay.  You only came here with the contents of your brain that you woke up with this morning.  So that's okay.
Wielgus: There's not much there.

Later Allard asks Wielgus a question about ASCA:

Allard: Let's talk about ASCA for a minute.  Who is the president of that organization currently?
Wielgus: I'm embarrassed to say I don't know

When the topic turns to Pat Hogan's responsibility for administering the CPP (Child Protection Policy), Wielgus seems to qualify his putting him in that position:

Allard: And who appointed him to that position vis-a-vis the child protection policy?
Wielgus: To the staff liaison position?
Allard: Yes.
Wielgus: I probably did that.

Later on, Wielgus claims that he doesn't remember the contents of e-mail exchanges from a couple of days before the deposition with the swimmer who wrote him about coach Andy King originally in 2003.

The last and most troubling theme of the depositions is the connection between USA Swimming and USSIC. USSIC is a captive insurance company, meaning that it was founded to insure both USA Swimming and its members. All USA Swimming members have dues going to the USSIC. Throughout the testimony, it is revealed that the USSIC board is almost entirely made up of former USA Swimming board members. In Ross Wales testimony, he is protected from answering questions about USSIC and there is contention between the lawyers as to whether USSIC is a defendant alongside USA Swimming in this case. I am curious to see how this is resolved.

Even as I write this blog, the site is being rapidly updated. To view all the material I'm discussing and citing, click on the following link and please feel free to respond in the comments section.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Ok, so there's the whole sexual abuse thing, which it's clear that Wielgus botched. But the question is, why is such a ditz in charge of such a huge organization??