It has taken nearly eight years, but the efforts of attorney Robert Allard along with numerous advocates and athletes to rid the sport of swimming of sexual abuse are starting to pay off. With reports that almost 600 USA Swimmers have been sexually abused by coaches and officials, USA Swimming today announced the resignations of two key employees, Club Development Managing Director Pat Hogan and Safe Sport Director Susan Woessner.
Hogan was one of the top leaders in the organization. But he also was part of the culture that enabled the sexual abuse of young athletes to take place over many decades. Hogan married the very swimmer he once coached, proclaiming that she was 18 when he married her. He also provided cover for admitted pedophile and former USA National Team Director Everett Uchiyama. It was Hogan who provided Uchiyama with a glowing job recommendation with a Colorado Springs County Club after Uchiyama secretly resigned over sexual abuse allegations.
Woessner, unqualified for the job, was hired in 2010 following an ABC 20/20 program exposing the problem of sexual abuse inside USA Swimming. In her nearly eight years on the job, Woessner failed to take action against problem coaches and became a protector of the existing culture. The moves come just days after a Southern California News Group investigation revealed that Woessner or former USA Swimming chief executive Chuck Wielgus did not take action against 11 high profile coaches even when presented with direct complaints.
As a result of the Orange County Register investigative story, coach Chris DeSantis (formerly Penn and Georgia Tech) wrote an open letter to USA Swimming in which he states, "As members of the swimming community, we have paid a huge price for that silence. None have paid more dearly than the athletes. Ariana Kukors was abused by a coach who was protected by that veil of secrecy. High ranking employees of USA Swimming treated Dagny Knutson's brilliant career like their play toy." And, "Secrecy allowed Rick Curl to coach prominently for decades after molesting Kelly Currin. USA Swimming allowed Mitch Ivey to coach for two decades after ESPN reported on his abuse."
Said attorney Robert Allard, "On Monday, February 19, 2018, we wrote an email to new USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey asking him to terminate both Susan Woessner and Pat Hogan if he wanted to send a positive message to the swimming community that the organization was moving in a different direction in terms of protecting children from pedophile coaches. We commend him for taking our request seriously and ultimately forcing the resignations of these two individuals who were at the heart of the scandal which has rocked this great sport. Hopefully, together, we will continue to weed out all of those who were involved in covering up for and protecting known child predators. Only then can Swimming honestly represent to parents that every effort has been made to keep their children safe from sexual abuse and harassment by its coaches."
For eight years, Allard has taken it upon himself to fight for USA Swimming sexual abuse victims. He has represented countless sexually abused swimmers pro-bono, no charge, to change the culture.
When parents of sexually abused children come to Mr. Allard, they do so with more than just the thought of filing a lawsuit for money. They also want an attorney that will change the system so that someone's child does not have to be a sexual abuse victim.
If you seek an attorney that is genuinely interested in the well being of you and your sexually abused child, give Mr. Allard and his legal team a call at 408-289-1417. The consultation is free, and there is no fee until your case is successfully settled.