The Houston Family Law Blog

Sexual Abuse in Competitive Swimming

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Deena Deardurff Schmidt, of San Jose, California, is known for being a 1972 Olympic champion swimmer. However, the Washington Post reports that Ms. Schmidt now admits that she was repeatedly molested over a four year period by her coach when she was training in the 1960s.

After reporting her coach's behavior to officials at USA Swimming years later, the coach still went on to train more young swimmers. She claims that inadequate background check policies for coaches have fostered sexual molestation in youth swimming around the country.

"I believe, in part, that this has been overlooked because it is a widespread problem, and coaches have been more concerned with the success rate of the swimmers than the well-being of these young people," she told the Washington Post.

Last year, a young girl filed a complaint against USA Swimming. She claims that she was sexually molested by her coach. The complaint alleges that more than 30 coaches nationwide have engaged in sexual misconduct with young females and that the culture of competitive swimming condones inappropriate relationships between coaches and swimmers. The case sheds light on the growing problems of child abuse and sexual abuse in athletics.

Texans who have questions about child abuse can learn more from the Office of the Attorney General, or from the State Bar of Texas. FindLaw states that there are laws at the national level that seek to protect children. And while child abuse often occurs within a family, other caretakers or athletic coaches can be the ones to unexpectedly inflict the violence.

Related Resources:

  • Child Abuse Cases (FindLaw)
  • Enhanced Sentencing for Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child in Texas (FindLaw Knowledgebase)
  • Find Texas Family Law Attorneys (FindLaw)

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