At least three coaches have been arrested in as many months for alleged sexual abuse involving young swimmers.
In May, Kenneth William Fuller was arrested and charged with felony
sexual assault and corruption of a minor. Fuller, 47, was head
coach of the Rustin High School swim team, near Philadelphia. A
female swimmer told police he offered her beer and had sex with her
on multiple occasions.
In June, Noah Rucker was arrested. A woman has accused him of
having sexual relations with her ten years ago when she was a
17-year-old. At that time Rucker coached the swim team at James
Madison High School in Virginia. The woman was a swimmer on the
team and Rucker has denied the allegations in a public statement.
Also in June, a San Mateo, Calif. high school swimming and water
polo coach was arrested for sexually assaulting a female student.
Joshua David Tatro, 25, faces charges including sexual assault on a
minor and committing lewd acts with a minor. Allard says he is
working with the alleged victim and her family to file a claim.
Unlike Tatro, both Fuller and Rucker were affiliated with USA Swimming.
“Fuller was suspended June 6, pending a National Board of
Review hearing,” said Jamie Fabos Olsen, USA Swimming
communications director. “In the Rucker case, we were
appreciative that coaches from the area notified our Athlete
Protection staff immediately upon learning of the case. This is
testament to our mandatory Athlete Protection training.” As
of press time, an emergency hearing had also been initiated
“Regardless of current or future cases, USA Swimming is
committed to continuing its Safe Sport Programming. This is and has
always been our approach,” added Fabos Olsen. “In fact,
in 2010, we put a Safe Sport committee in place that is
specifically charged with the regular review and evaluation of our
programming to ensure we keep with industry best practices. This is
a permanent and ongoing committee.”
As part of its response to the sexual abuse allegations, USA
Swimming also will roll out customized training for athletes this
fall. However, not everyone believes the organization is fully
committed to addressing the issue.
“I’m convinced that real change will not happen until
the people who are in control are out of office,” said
attorney Robert Allard, with Corsiglia McMahon & Allard LLP, in San
Jose, Calif. “They simply haven’t done nearly
enough.” Allard represents several young women who have filed
lawsuits against former coaches claiming sexual abuse.