USA Swimming Letter to Members + SB534 Safe Sport Authorization Act
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Dear USA Swimming Family,
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 manner.
In order to be successful, it will require your active participation. Working together we can strive to completely eradicate sexual abuse from our organization.
As an organization we can do more, and we will continue to do more with your valued feedback, guidance, and involvement.
Tim Hinchey III
USA Swimming President and CEO
TO: USA Swimming Members
FROM: USA Swimming Leadership
On February 14, 2018, Senate bill S. 534 – Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 – was signed into law and became effective immediately.
The legislation amends the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 and the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 and, among other things: (i) extends reporting duties; (ii) expands civil remedies; and (iii) designates the United States Center for SafeSport (the “Center”) to serve as the independent national safe sport organization.
Notably, the legislation requires USA Swimming and its adult members to report suspected child abuse, including sexual abuse, to local or federal law enforcement or to a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department within 24 hours. A failure to report is subject to criminal penalties.
Additionally, and pursuant to Article 306 of USA Swimming’s Rules, all USA Swimming Covered Individuals (as defined by the Center:http://safesport.org/files/details/27) must report to the Center conduct that could constitute (a) sexual misconduct, (b) misconduct that is reasonably related to the underlying allegation of sexual misconduct and (c) retaliation related to an allegation of sexual misconduct.
For more information about USA Swimming’s Safe Sport Program, or if you have any feedback, comments or suggestions, please email us at:firstname.lastname@example.org.