Swimming sex scandal reveals biggest name yet

2010-05-26 09:21

The sexual abuse scandal at USA Swimming has revealed its biggest

name yet – the former director of the national team.


Everett Uchiyama was on a list released yesterday by the swimming

organisation showing 46 people who have received lifetime bans or permanently

quit the organisation, most for sex-related offences.


According to USA Swimming, Uchiyama received his suspension in

January 2006.

The oldest suspension on the list was handed out in 1991, but most

occurred in the past decade – including 11 since the beginning of 2009.


Uchiyama hastily resigned as national team director in January 2006

without explanation.

He began his career at USA Swimming in 1999 as the national

team coordinator, and moved up to national team director on an interim basis in

December 2002.

The interim title was removed in April 2004, just a few months

before the Athens Olympics.


Uchiyama was banned for violating a section in the code of conduct

that forbids “any sexual conduct, advance or other inappropriate sexually

oriented behaviour or action directed towards an athlete by a coach”.


The provision also prohibits “any non-consensual physical sexual

conduct or pattern of unwelcome advances or other sexual harassment in

connection with or incidental to a USA Swimming-related activity”.


Of the 46 names released by the organisation, 36 were punished for

sexual misconduct or inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Two were banned for fraud,

deception or dishonesty; two for unspecified felonies; and another for illegal

drugs or substances.


No offence was listed in five cases, either because they occurred

before the code of conduct went into effect, no section applied to their

violation, or the details were not available.


USA Swimming has come under increasing scrutiny for its handling of

sexual abuse, with some critics claiming that it covered up wrongdoing by

prominent coaches and fostered an environment that allowed youth swimmers to be

harmed.


At least four lawsuits have been filed.


At its regular May board meeting, USA Swimming approved four steps

to deal with the problem, which included publishing the list of banned coaches.

Members also voted to authorise the start-up of a hot-line and counselling

service, create an athlete protection committee with experts from both inside

and outside the sport, and set up staff positions to focus on athlete

protection.


In March, 1972 Olympic champion Deena Deardurff Schmidt revealed

that as she trained in the 1960s, she was repeatedly molested by her coach.


Despite telling officials at USA Swimming years later, she said,

the coach – whom she wouldn’t name – went on to train more young swimmers and

was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.


Her comments came a day after a separate lawsuit was filed in

California alleging that more than 30 coaches nationwide have engaged in sexual

misconduct with young females.

 

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