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Swim coach Mark Schubert denies covering up alleged sex misconduct

October 09, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Mark Schubert, shown in 2004, is the chief executive officer of Golden West Swim Club in Huntington Beach.
Mark Schubert, shown in 2004, is the chief executive officer of Golden West… (Robert Laberge / Getty Images )

Famed swim coach Mark Schubert, who was accused in a recent wrongful-termination lawsuit of ignoring sexually inappropriate behavior between a coach and swimmers, has in court documents dismissed the claims as “distortions and lies.”

Swim coach and philanthropist Dia Rianda filed the suit last month in Orange County Superior Court against Schubert, who is the chief executive officer of Golden West Swim Club in Huntington Beach.

Most notably, Schubert was the head of the U.S. national team until 2010 and a fixture on the Olympic scene for decades, having trained an impressive number of world-class athletes, including distance star Janet Evans, who won four Olympic gold medals.

Schubert’s legal response to the charges, in court papers obtained by The Times, was due to be filed in Orange County later on Tuesday.  Until now, there had been no comment or response from Schubert or his associate, swim coach William Jewell, who was accused by Rianda of displaying “inappropriate behavior” with swimmers at Golden West.

One of the more explosive allegations from Rianda claimed that Schubert and USA Swimming had engaged in a cover-up of alleged sexual misconduct by swim coach Sean Hutchison when Hutchison worked in Fullerton with the high-performance program.

It alleged Schubert was paid $625,000 to keep quiet in regard to  information about Hutchison or any swim coaches. USA Swimming previously denied such an arrangement existed.

“Plaintiff alleges Schubert of holding on to this evidence [against Hutchison] for his own personal  gain instead of turning it over to the authorities,” court documents said. “None of this is true.

“Schubert  never hired a private investigator and never had any evidence that Hutchison had an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his swimmers.... Plaintiff then alleges that Schubert entered into a confidential agreement with USA Swimming whereby USA Swimming 'bought him off' from disclosing any further information about sex abuse by swim coaches.

“Incredibly, she alleges that in exchange for money, Schubert agreed not to divulge any further information about sexual abuse by swim coaches. This is absolutely false.”

Schubert’s attorney Richard Foster told The Times on Tuesday that Schubert is still working at Golden West and has been given the full support from the club’s board. Foster said that Schubert would not be avaiable for comment.

Rianda said in an interview in September that she  brought the lawsuit to try to bring change to the sport.

Court documents in Tuesday’s response said she was dismissed for “legitimate reasons,” alleging Rianda  had created issues for the board of directors by “being uncooperative,” and charged that she “bullied swimmers.”

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