An ABC News 20/20 investigation that uncovered a sex abuse scandal involving dozens of male swim coaches of teen female swimmers today received one of journalism's most prestigious awards -- the duPont Silver Baton from Columbia University. The report by ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross and producers Megan Chuchmach and Avni Patel found some 36 coaches for USA Swimming, the sport's national governing body, had been quietly banned from the sport for sexual abuse of young female team members.
The 20/20 story called into question the failure of the executive board of USA Swimming to require proper background checks and a failure to investigate numerous complaints, instead quietly allowing accused coaches to re-locate and continue to work with, and in some cases abuse, young swimmers. In a memorable exchange during an interview with Ross, USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus appeared to be stunned when asked if he felt he should apologize to team members for failing to protect them and declined to do so. But less than two days after the broadcast Wielgus acknowledged in a letter to his membership that he was "extremely sorry if our organization has not done enough to provide the highest level of child protection."
CLICK HERE TO READ THE ORIGINAL ABC NEWS REPORT The scandal, which many victims and whistleblowers have compared to the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, had impact far beyond the world of swimming. Not only did the USA Swimming organization adopt new safeguards to protect their swimmers, but the US Olympic Committee also formed a special task force to address the issue of sexual and physical abuse of youth athletes by coaches in 32 Olympic sports.