Excerpted from “ABC News Investigation: USA Swimming Coaches Molested, Secretly Taped Dozens of Teen Swimmers; Olympic Governing Body Under Fire; 36 Swim Coaches Banned for Life Because of Sexual Misconduct with Teens
” By MEGAN CHUCHMACH and AVNI PATEL, ABC News
, Apr. 9, 2010
he executive director of USA Swimming, Chuck Wielgus, acknowledged the problem, but said "It's "It's not nearly as serious in USA Swimming as it might be in the rest of society."
"I don't want to be the one to sit here and say 36 is not too many, one is too many, but this is not just a problem that's isolated to one sport," said Wielgus.
In some cases, the swimming coaches found to have been sexual predators were able to move from town to town, one step ahead of police and angry victims and their parents.
"We have a system that does not encourage the reporting," said Bob Allard, a San Jose, CA lawyer representing sex abuse victims suing USA Swimming. …
"We want to have the gold standard and I think we do an awesome job," said USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus. "I don't think we're perfect.
Wielgus says the local swim clubs, not the national organization, bear the responsibility to check the full backgrounds of swimming coaches they hire.
He said the 36 coaches banned by the organization over the last ten years were only a tiny fraction of the organization's 12,000 coaches in that time period.
"Thirty six does seem like a whole lot. A hundred is even more. Five hundred is even more," he told correspondent Brian Ross.
Asked if he had apologized to any of the young teen victims, Wielgus responded, "You feel I need to apologize to them?"
He added, "I think it's unfair for you to ask me whether individually or me as the representative of an organization to apologize for something when all we are trying to do is everything we possibly can to create a safe and healthy environment for kids who are participating in our particular activity."