Under fire for its handling of sex abuse allegations and screening of coaches, USA Swimming, the national governing body of the sport, said it plans a series of steps to make swim clubs safer for its young athletes, possibly including an anonymous reporting system to encourage scared victims to come forward.
The plan laid out for the San Jose Mercury News on Monday is far stronger than the two-page open letter to the swimming community posted on USA Swimming’s Web site last week, but some critics say the steps still are not enough to protect impressionable young girls from predator coaches.
“It’s a good first step, but it’s way too late,” said B. Robert Allard, the attorney who represents a 15-year-old San Jose victim of former swim coach Andrew King, who recently was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting young swimmers for more than 30 years. “Lots of girls have been hurt.”
In the past 10 years, 36 swim coaches have been banned for life from membership in USA Swimming for sex abuse or sexual misconduct, but the organization does not always notify police, Wielgus said, explaining it depends on whether a state has mandatory reporting laws, as California does.