Head of USA Swimming Apologizes to Abused After ABC Investigation

The head of USA Swimming, the governing body for U.S. Olympic swimming hopefuls, has apologized following an ABC investigation into sexual abuse by swim coaches.

The ABC report had identified 36 coaches banned for life from the organization over the past 10 years for sexual abuse of female swimmers, including a former Gold medalist.

In the wake of the 20/20 investigation headed by Brian Ross, Chuck Wielgus said in a letter to the group's coaches that he was sorry if the group had not done enough to protect the girls.

In an interview with Ross for the program, Wielgus had conceded they had kicked the coaches out, but had not investigated the abuse and had not apologized to the girls.

"I also am extremely sorry if our organization has not done enough to provide the highest level of child protection safeguards and guidelines," he said. "We cannot shy away from this issue and we are going to need your help and participation. I want to encourage you to be proactive in addressing this topic with the young athletes, parents and other coaches with whom you work."

He also said that there were things in the interview he wishes he "had back," other things that were left out, and other parts of the report "that weren't true."

"We read his letter and we have been reaching out to him trying to understand what he is talking about," says ABC Senior VP Jeffrey Schenider of the suggestion of omissions or inaccuracies.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.