USA Swimming Coach Pleads No Contest to Having Sex with Underage Swimmer

Chris Wheat

Another USA Swimming coach Chris Wheat, 36, is due to appear in court next month in Indiana on sexual misconduct charges. Wheat, who coached the Lawrence Swim Team in Indianapolis, is alleged to have had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old swimmer he coached. He was arrested in October on charges of sexual misconduct and child solicitation and has pleaded not guilty.

Wheat's attorney did not immediately respond to request for comment on the case.

Jason Lear

In another case, authorities in Kissimmee, FL have accused a local swim coach of performing sex acts on a 12-year-old girl he coached. At the time, the coach, Jason Lear, was working at a local USA Swimming member club in St. Cloud, FL. Lear is set to go to trial next month on charges of sexual battery and lewd or lascivious molestation.

Neither Lear or his attorney could not be reached for comment. Lear reportedly told detectives that had not had any unsupervised contact with swimmers. He has pleaded not guilty.

A spokeswoman for USA Swimming said both Wheat and Lear have been suspended for life.

Earlier this week, USA Swimming announced it is immediately implementing a 7-Point Action Plan to protect its hundreds of thousands of youth swimmers across the country.

In an open letter, USA Swimming President Jim Wood and USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said the organization will develop new guidelines for acceptable behavior by coaches, enhance the reporting system for sexual abuse to both the organization and law enforcement, review its Code of Conduct, examine its background screening program, talk to member clubs about pre-employment screening, evaluate sharing coaching history records with swimming clubs and other youth organizations, and educate swimmers, parents, coaches and swimming club leaders.

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