Swimming SA embroiled in alleged sexual abuse scandal

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Endurance swimming. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Endurance swimming. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
  • Swimming SA has confirmed that two coaches are facing disciplinary action for alleged sexual crimes.
  • One of the cases involves a coach considered a legend on the local circuit, who allegedly groomed two women in their early teens back in the 1970s and 80s.
  • A local advocacy group has launched legal action against the federation for not approaching authorities once potential evidence emerged.

Swimming SA (SSA) is embroiled in a gender-based violence scandal after confirming at the weekend that two prominent coaches face disciplinary action for alleged sexual abuse and harassment.

One of the cases, understood to be unrelated to the other, involves a figure considered a legend on the local circuit.

According to the Saturday Star, he's been accused by two Durban women of being groomed during their early teens back in the 1970s and 80s.

Both women are now in their 50s and opened a case with the Police.

The coach, via his lawyers, denied the allegations.

After initial denials, SSA announced that it is taking tentative action.

"SSA is conducting its own investigation to ascertain if members are in breach of the organisation's policies and code of conduct‚" the governing body said in a statement.

"Until such time the investigation is concluded‚ no further public comment will be made."

However, it would seem that SSA only belatedly sprung into action after an advocacy group for child protection launched legal action against two of its high-ranking officials, the Guardian reported.

The Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) allege that the two men, as representatives of SSA, abdicated their legal responsibility to inform the Police once evidence of potential sexual crimes had emerged in the form of an independent investigator's report.

Luke Lamprecht, advocacy manager at WMACA and a key player in securing the conviction of former tennis professional Bob Hewitt, told the publication: "We're not judging. We're simply requesting an investigation by the appropriate authority into the circumstances that gave rise to this (independent) report sent to SSA."

- Compiled by Sport24 staff 

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