Former Australian swimming coach John Wright accused of sexual abuse

Former Australian swimming coach John wright faces numerous allegations of sexual and physical abuse and Swimming Australia has come under fire for its handling of the situation following an investigation by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

In a detailed report published on the ABC website on October 10. 4 of Lorna knowles other Nikki tugwell, and later aired as a two-part documentary series on ABC’s “7.30” program, it is revealed that Wright is accused of abusing swimmers Shane lewis, Colin marshall, Tony Blundell other Paul shearer In the 1980’s.

Shearer first went public with the charges against Wright in 2009, claiming to have been the victim of at least 20 incidents of coach abuse in the late 1980s, with incidents occurring at the coach’s rented house on the Gold Coast and in his car.

“I would be like, no, it doesn’t,” Shearer told ABC in the December 2009 interview. “So I was calling to say hello. And then the next thing, it happened again. “

Wright couldn’t be appointed coach at that time for legal reasons, but Shearer said, “Coaches like this have a responsibility and they shouldn’t be allowed to cross lines like this. They should not be allowed to intimidate juniors, youngsters, whatever their classification, and a leopard has never changed. [its] tasks. “

The ABC can now confirm that Wright is the coach Shearer was referring to.

Shearer contacted Swimming Australia shortly after his interview in 2009, but no investigation was undertaken. The organization says it has been unable to take action because Shearer has never filed a formal complaint.

“As was the case, the representative for Swimming Australia, who was a lawyer at the time, responded to him and had a conversation with him,” said the current CEO of Swimming Australia. Eugenie Buckley noted.

“I saw a file note – I was not aware of the conversation.

“It was then, ‘Can you please file a formal complaint? We must be able to continue this action with the police. “… During this call, he agreed, but no complaint was ever filed.

“Our lawyer then followed up twice to see if he would agree to file this complaint, but it was never received.”

As for the other three victims, the abuse against Lewis and Marshall is believed to have occurred at the Chandler Pool in Brisbane, now the Brisbane Aquatic Center, while the abuse against Blundell is believed to have occurred during car trips to the establishment.

Lewis was said to have been between 11 and 13 during the alleged abuse, while Marshall was 12 and Blundell 13.

Lewis died in February of this year following a fatal overdose of prescription drugs at the age of 47. Although the cause of death has not been determined, his family believe it was suicide.

Lewis, a 1992 Olympian, first disclosed the alleged abuse to his mother in 2010 while recovering from a suicide attempt in hospital.

He chose to go public in 2016, contacting a child protection advocate Hetty johnston, and a friend of Lewis’s contacted Swimming Australia in February 2016.

One response asked for more details, including a short questionnaire regarding the alleged abuse, but Lewis responded by expressing his displeasure with the response, saying he didn’t think filling out a few boxes would generate significant interest or initiate anything. it would be.

In his letter he said: “I would also like to acknowledge that it is not just about swimming, not just sport in general. The abuse does not distinguish between demographics. There are too many people suffering and still suffering. “

He received a letter from Mark Anderson, then Managing Director of Swimming Australia, telling him he would be happy to have the opportunity to learn more about “past and present circumstances”.

Johnston said: “Swimming Australia has written a beautiful letter. But the word sorry was nowhere there.

“And what a survivor always looks for is that everyone wants to know, deep down in their souls, that what happened was not their fault. And he was, you know, he was discouraged by it, sure discouraged by it.

“He felt abandoned by Swimming Australia.”

Johnston said Lewis gave up on pursuing the complaint after that.

As for Swimming Australia’s response, Buckley said then-CEO Anderson responded appropriately at the time in 2016, after asking Lewis for more information, speaking with Johnston, police and referring the allegations to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Buckley told the CBA “one, there weren’t enough details to investigate, and two, it was a resource issue. Swimming Australia did not have the resources. “

Buckley said if the complaint is received now, it will immediately be referred to police and the independent government watchdog, Sports Integrity Australia.

The CBA says police told them there was no active investigation into Wright, but all alleged victims are encouraged to come forward.

The ABC also tracked Wright’s last known address, located in Newcastle, Australia, but he was not there to answer questions. The owner of the house told ABC he had lived with him but left suddenly in April to visit friends in Queensland.

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