Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

Seattle Swim Coach’s Conduct Leads to $5 Million in Losses

Written by PC News on . Posted in Coaches, Insurance, Litigation, Molestation, Volunteer Management, Volunteer Screening

More than a decade after firing their swim coach, a Seattle area Parks and Recreation District has settled three molestation lawsuits for a total of almost $5 million (Full Story Here).  A fourth suit was recently filed by yet another victim.  The coach, who worked in Seattle in the mid-90s, was later arrested in California for sexual abuse spanning a nearly thirty year period.  Indeed, one of the charges involved a swimmer allegedly impregnated by the coach before he was even employed in Seattle.  The coach is currently serving a 40 year prison sentence in California.

As is common in these cases, news reports indicate potential risk management warning signs.  According to the lawsuits, a number of parents, including one who was a parks commissioner at the time, raised concerns about King’s behavior toward his young female swimmers. He was often seen with a young girl seated on his lap during swim practices, and was known to take girls to dinner and send them flowers. This type of favoriting and gifting is common grooming behavior.  The lawsuits all alleged the district failed to adequately look into King’s background before hiring him, then failed to conduct annual reviews of his performance that could have led to his firing.  These allegations are consistent with the failure to screen and failure to supervise claims seen in many suits against volunteer youth sports organizations.

At Placek Consulting, we work to create policies to protect children and volunteers by creating open and transparent relationships.  We assist with training and communication with your volunteers and constituents to create a culture of child protection.  Let us review your current policies or assist you in creating a comprehensive risk management program.

Credentials No Guard Against Molestation

Written by PC News on . Posted in Coaches, Molestation, News

The image of the coach/abuser often centers around the loner who works his way into a small youth sports club and finds a way to isolate himself with children.  The club, grateful just to have the volunteer help doesn’t want to see a problem or ignores complaints until it is too late.  While there are certainly examples of that caricature, the recent guilty plea of Rick Curl, a US Olympic swimming coach at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, belies that view. (Full story here).  Curl ran one of the largest and most prominent youth swimming programs in the country.   In 1989, he also paid $150,000 to the family of a 13 year old swimmer for a non-disclosure agreement related to claims that he had sexual relations with the girl when he was in his 30s.

After learning of his presence at the latest Olympic trials, the girl, now in her 40s came forward to tell her story of abuse.  Curl pleaded guilty to the charges and he faces up to 15 years in prison and will be listed in the sexual offender’s registry.  He was able, however, to sell his swim club, which has since been renamed.  Few coaches in the country had the profile and record of success that Curl achieved.  Yet, despite all those credentials, he is an admitted child sexual abuser.  He has since been banned for life by USA Swimming.

When implementing child protection policies, it is important that the policies be equally applied.  Simply because a coach has a certain profile or background is no reason not to require him to follow club policies.  Moreover, applying policies equally will aid in the acceptance of club policy from all coaches.