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New details emerge about Golden West College's investigation

May 24, 2013|By Lisa Dillman
  • Mark Schubert began helping coach U.S. Olympic teams in 1980.
Mark Schubert began helping coach U.S. Olympic teams in 1980. (Robert Laberge / Getty Images )

Two letters, written almost six months apart by Golden West College President Wes Bryan, paint a different picture about an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior by a swim coach.

In November, Bryan wrote a letter to the Huntington Beach-based Golden West Swim Club’s board of directors, describing how an “extensive” outside investigation cleared the club's swim coach, William Jewell, of charges of inappropriate conduct. The allegations had been made by former swim team employee Dia Rianda in an unlawful-termination suit filed against Jewell’s boss, Mark Schubert.

In the original letter, Bryan wrote that the investigation did not reveal “any evidence” to substantiate the allegations.

Bryan’s latest letter, dated May 22, which was obtained by The Times, sounded a different tone and included an apology to Rianda. The school president confirmed Thursday that he had written both letters but declined additional comment, saying he does not make comments about matters in litigation.

Rianda sued Schubert, an eight-time U.S. Olympic team swim coach, for wrongful termination in September, alleging he ignored complaints she made regarding sexually inappropriate behavior displayed by Jewell. The matter is still pending.

She charged that Schubert fired her in July after she complained about Jewell’s behavior.

“It’s easier for a lot of people to turn their heads and look the other way,” Rianda said in an interview with The Times in September after filing the lawsuit.

Rianda, who has donated at least $100,000 to USA Swimming, joined Schubert at the Golden West Swim Club after he was hired as the program’s head coach and chief executive officer in 2011.

In regard to the investigation, Rianda’s legal team raised numerous objections about its lack of scope, starting with the fact that she was never interviewed and further stated that “not a single one of the four other assistant coaches who observed and/or reported about Mr. Jewell’s inappropriate behavior to Mr. Schubert were contacted much less interviewed.”

His second communication, which also went to the board of directors, stated:

“The purpose of this letter is to provide clarification to the comments in my letter dated November 30, 2012 pertaining to the investigation which I authorized on behalf of Golden West College regarding Mark Schubert and Bill Jewell, because the intent of my comments may have been misinterpreted or misconstrued.

“My comments were intended to be directed solely and exclusively to the activities at Golden West College, and indeed, the primary focus of the investigation from the beginning was on Golden West College, not the Golden West Swim Club. Moreover, at the time that I wrote the letter, I was not aware of some factual information that has since been brought to my attention relating to certain action that may have occurred at the Club.

“I certainly did not intend to convey that the investigation was ‘extensive’ or ‘complete’ with respect to the Golden West Swim Club, and in fact, the investigation looked into the activities of the Golden West Swim Club merely tangentially because the Club only utilizes College facilities on a limited basis through a written agreement. Indeed, Golden West College has made no determination as to anything that may have occurred at the Golden West Swim Club outside of Golden West College pertaining to either Mark Schubert or Bill Jewell.

“I regret if my letter may have inadvertently caused any harm or distress to Ms. Dia Rianda or to anyone else.”

The Orange County Register reported this week that USA Swimming has initiated a disciplinary hearing against Jewell, scheduled for June 19, regarding the allegations of inappropriate behavior at Golden West Swim Club, and previously, at Fullerton Aquatics.

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