USA Swimming CEO Issues Statement Amid Reports of Rampant Sexual Misconduct

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2018

United States' Ryan Murphy, China's Xu Jiayu and Russia's Evgeny Rylov, from right, compete in the men's 200-meter backstroke final during the swimming competitions of the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Petr David Josek/Associated Press

USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey issued a statement Thursday to members of the national governing body regarding reports of widespread sexual misconduct within the organization. 

According to the Associated Press, part of Hinchey's statement read: "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."

On Feb. 16, Scott M. Reid of the Orange County Register published a report detailing allegations that hundreds of swimmers were sexually abused for decades, only for USA Swimming authority figures to ignore them.

Hinchey said that while he and USA Swimming "disagree" with some of the reported conclusions, they would strive to prevent any similar oversights moving forward: "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."

Former Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors said recently that swim coach Sean Hutchison began sexually abusing her when she was 16.

Hutchison denied sexually assaulting Kukors in a subsequent statement.

On Thursday, Hinchey stressed the importance of looking for warning signs regarding sexual misconduct and proactively reporting them: "We simply cannot assume that those being abused will voluntarily come forward, even if given the opportunity to do so in a confidential manner."

Reports of sexual abuse in USA Swimming have come on the heels of a similar situation in USA Gymnastics.

Former USA Gymnastics physician Larry Nassar is currently set to spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of child sexual abuse stemming from his time with the organization.