Monday, July 11, 2011

It's a Good Thing Chuck Wielgus Doesn't Read Blogs

Earlier this summer, I criticized for teasing pieces of information that they didn't have. I was tired of hearing about two things in particular: a sealeddeposition from Chuck Wielgus and a purported letter of recommendation from John Leonard for George Gibney to enter the United States. Well, today, the site has what it says is the sealed deposition from Wielgus. As usual, I will summarize the most crucial parts for those of you who do not want to power skim through 40 pages.

The text jumps in the middle of a question and answer session between an attorney named Curran, who I believe is representing Jane Doe. Pylitt is the name of the USA Swimming attorney in this exchange and Wielgus is answering the questions. Curran asks Wielgus about Mitch Ivey. The exchange reveals important details about the much rumored "flagged list" that exists separately from the banned list of coaches. The flagged list exists for the purpose of coaches who are not current members that have not been convicted of a crime or been reported during their time as a USA Swimming member. What these coaches do have is something in their past that would trigger a USA Swimming investigation should they attempt to be members. I still couldn't get a sense for what the parameters are for making the flagged list Wielgus states that there are "a couple dozen" names on it and that the list is not publicly available.

We then go on to learn better the circumstances under which Everett Uchiyama left the organization. Wielgus details being given the information by Uchiyama's victim. He then told Uchiyama he would have to go before the board of review. Uchiyama, according to Wielgus, did not contest the victim's account and chose to resign instead of going before the national board. Wielgus can only state for sure that he told the USA Swimming President at the time.

Both incidents highlight the problem I addressed in my blog last week. USA Swimming only released it's banned list under intense pressure. The result of their keeping the list a secret was that places like the Country Club of Colorado were completely unaware of the circumstances of Uchiyama's departure from USA Swimming. Similarly, coaches from the flagged list can work outside of the bounds of USA Swimming with no idea of the information that USA Swimming has.

The rest of the purported exchange consists of Curran asking Wielgus what he knows about specific incidents. Wielgus says he heard a rumor that Rick Curl had settled out of court with a former swimmer. He says that Jim Wood came to him with a rumor that Mark Schubert had an inappropriate relationship with Dara Torres and that he contacted Torres directly about it: she denied it vehemently. He also states that he has made two attempts to contact Deena Deardurff Schmidt without any response- one e-mail and another by letter.

The title of this post comes from late in the document. Wielgus states "I don't think I've ever gone to a blog in my life". Seems like my post about Wielgus not using the internet wasn't as much of a joke as I thought. 

It's pretty clear that Wielgus still thinks we are in the 1980s. The definition of privacy has changed dramatically in the recent past, particularly with the internet. It is my belief, as I stated last week that sexual abuse in swimming thrives on the secrecy that Wielgus protects. Many of my friends have urged me to stop writing about this topic- not because they don't agree but because they fear I will hurt my future by so publicly disagreeing with the power elite of swimming. I guess I should consider myself lucky if I ever meet Chuck Wielgus because he doesn't read blogs.

1 comment:

  1. Only recently did I start reading blogs. I stumbled upon the SCAQ blog by googling swim news. I filed several protests in June 2010 with Southern California Swimming. If handled correctly, my protests could make the sport of swimming better for thousands of swimmers in Southern California.

    To this day, it seems that the only way I will get a response from Southern California Swimming Board of Review is if I contact Weiglus, Woessner or Chasson. Once I make contact with them, it seems that I get an immediate response from the SCS Review chair.

    At this point, I have no real opinion on any of these people. I still don't know what's going on with my protests. In April, I attended a very unusual hearing with Southern California Swimming and now have to wait for a rehearing.

    I thought I was doing the right thing by remaining silent and allowing the process to work. After a year, I'm rethinking that decision.

    It's amazing what is found on blogs. Check out Jon blogs about a "shocking" conversation he had with a swimmer (dated March 10,2010). About 10 days later, there is a job posting on the USA Swimming website for his head coach position at TSM. Then on July 22, 2010 he writes, "I recently had to walk the plank (at knifepoint) at my previous place of employment.

    Swim Torrance hired Jon as a head coach, lasting less than a year, but I was the one who was a liability risk for the club because I question things and seek answers.