In light of recent
media coverage, I would like to provide some perspective on the very
important subject matter discussed and the commentary surrounding USA
Swimming’s Safe Sport efforts.
Let me be clear:
USA Swimming does not tolerate sexual abuse or misconduct, and I assure you
that this organization is facing this extremely serious issue with one very
clear goal – protecting children and athletes.
Every day we work
hard to get better as an organization. We are never complacent. We want to
listen and to hear from you. We are rightfully held to a high standard by
our membership and our peers, and we will continue to work tirelessly to
educate members, put policies in place, and empower clubs to create the
best possible environments for all members.
We will not shy
away from acknowledging or supporting survivors of abuse, and we will
strive to ensure that there is never a lapse of a support system again. We
will continue to work hand-in-hand with survivors, the U.S. Center for Safe
Sport, and law enforcement to hold wrongdoers accountable and remove them
from our organization.
While we disagree
on several of the reported statements and many of the conclusions in recent
media reports, members were failed, and we are doing everything we can to
make sure it never happens again.
Our system of
uncovering sexual abuse is not flawless, but it has enabled USA Swimming to
detect and prosecute members who have engaged in this misconduct. Every
year we have endeavored to make our sport safer for our athletes and other
members than the year before. Since 2010, USA Swimming has created a
leading Safe Sport program with key resource materials for members, updated
its Code of Conduct, mandated abuse prevention training, and created a
public list of individuals banned for sexual misconduct-related violations
in a continued effort to identify and remove offenders from the sport. This
is and will be an on-going process that has our full commitment.
The key aspect to
the success of the Safe Sport program is for every member to be vigilant
and report any suspicious activity that might be a violation of our Code of
Conduct. We simply cannot assume that those being abused will voluntarily
come forward, even if given the opportunity to do so in a confidential
In order to be
successful, it will require your active participation. Working together we
can strive to completely eradicate sexual abuse from our organization.