SBD/June 2, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Group Of Former Female Swimmers Petition To Rescind Chuck Wielgus' HOF Inducation

Accusers claim Wielgus did far too little to curtail sexual abuse in the community
Nineteen women "claiming to be survivors of sexual abuse by U.S. swim coaches" are petitioning the Int'l Swimming HOF "to rescind its June 14 induction" of USA Swimming Exec Dir CHUCK WIELGUS, according to Eric Adelson of YAHOO SPORTS. The petition provides a "long list of allegations" stating that Wielgus "did far too little to curtail an epidemic of sexual abuse cases involving children in the swimming community." The petition states, "Many of these coaches had well-known, long histories of sexual abuse, yet Wielgus enabled these men to continue to coach for years." Women's Sports Foundation Senior Dir of Advocacy NANCY HOGSHEAD-MAKAR "authored the petition on behalf of the 19 women." The petition "lists several allegations of inaction and even obfuscation on Wielgus' part, backed up by court documents with Wielgus' own testimony." The petition states Wielgus' policies were "hostile to victims." Hogshead-Makar: "We're not saying it's his fault that these things happened. We're saying he knew about these issues and didn't do anything about it." USA Swimming in a statement from five current and past presidents "strongly refutes the claims made in the petition and backs Wielgus." The statement read in part, "His integrity and leadership have been inspirational to us." USA Swimming also released a "personal note" from Wielgus, which states in part, "We all wish we had a do-over at periods in life and that was one for me" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/30). In Orlando, George Diaz writes under the header, "Shameful Swimming Legacy Involving Sexual Abuse Deserves No Honor." Diaz: "Does USA Swimming really think that 19 people conspired to rally against Wielgus simply because they don't like him?" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/2).
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