Where is the cut off line between one coaches’ sexual abuse allegations and the rest of professional swimming? For three hours recently, the chief executive of USA Swimming tried to distance both himself and the organization from one lawsuit in California. However, the New York City sexual abuse attorneys at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C. know that many sports leagues have systemic problems that do not stop with one coach or one victim. Holding those responsible for abuse often requires going right to the top of an organization.
Lost in the news focused on the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts, and USA Gymnastics sexual abuse allegations is often lesser followed sports. However, USA Swimming is now in the spotlight for their handling of sexual abuse issues as well.
For three and a half hours in early October, Tim Hinchey III, the chief executive of USA Swimming, sat down for a deposition related to a lawsuit that began in California. This lawsuit involves a California girl who was sexually abused by her swimming club coach and will subject USA Swimming’s governance to intense scrutiny.
A lawyer for the plaintiff in the case said, “I think this case is a microcosm for how USA Swimming has viewed the issue: “I don’t want to deal with this. It’s dirty. It takes up too much of my time. I’d rather focus on other things,’” said Robert Allard, who represents several other swimmers as well.
Tim Hinchey III, who took over USA Swimming in 2017, said he was not familiar with the details of the case and that he has not met the victim. He also said he was not aware of any way the organization has of verifying that coaches, parents, or children had been trained to handle sexual abuse issues.
“We can’t be there, on the ground, to support that type of training every single day,” he testified.
This issue comes on the heels of a new law in New York that has expanded the window for victims of sexual abuse to come forward and file lawsuits against those who abused them. It is time for all victims of sexual abuse to have the legal mechanisms to stand up and speak out, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
If you or someone you care about has suffered from sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted mentor, please seek legal assistance immediately. At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., we take these cases very seriously and will use the weight of our experience on your behalf. We want to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve, including: