Even when club officials began to look into the allegations last year, Dusenbury was allowed to continue coaching without agreed-upon supervision, including holding private unsupervised lessons with underage swimmers, according to club officials.
Former Nadadores board of directors chairman Rick Brotherton told the Register that he was so appalled with the way the club has handled the Dusenbury case that he left the club and removed his children as members.
"I believe (Dusenbury) did (have an improper relationship) and I didn't agree with the fact that he was still on (the pool) deck," Brotherton said . "I thought by my staying there I was making a statement that I felt everything was fine and I didn't believe everything was fine. So we left. I didn't want people thinking 'The Brothertons are still here. It must not be as bad as they're saying it is.' "
A DVD provided to Nadadores officials and obtained by the Register contains photos of a 2006 diary in which Dusenbury and the girl purportedly chronicle their relationship, in often intimate detail, including dates and places where sex acts occurred. The diary also reveals that as early as May 2006, Dusenbury, who goes by Ad'm, believed Nadadores coaches were suspicious of his relationship with the girl, but continued to become more involved with her. The DVD also contains photos of a teenage girl in her underwear in Dusenbury's apartment and seated on his bed. Club officials and Nadadores parents have identified the girl as the former Aliso Niguel student.
While Nadadores officials were provided copies of the DVD in August, Dusenbury continued to coach until October when board members were presented allegations of additional sexual impropriety, according to board members. The subsequent allegations are not related to adolescents or to swim club members.
Nadadores head coach Bill Rose for months continued to dismiss the allegations against Dusenbury as false. Seven months after the DVD was presented to Nadadores officials, Rose said he has not viewed the material.
"Rose was adamant that Ad'm hadn't done anything wrong and concerned about the source of the info," Brotherton said.
"What relationship?" Rose asked in an interview with The Register. "They're just allegations."
Rose added: "We followed the proper procedures."
POSITION OF TRUST
Nadadores board members and Twongtip Punlert, who dated Dusenbury in 2011, said they have also been asked by USA Swimming investigators about when Rose and other club officials learned of the alleged relationship between Dusenbury and the girl and whether club officials followed proper procedures in following up on reports of the relationship.
Punlert is the person who provided the DVD to Nadadores officials. She said she discovered it after Dusenbury accidently placed it with her belongings when he moved her out of the apartment they had been sharing.
Dusenbury, now 34, is viewed in swimming circles as being on the cutting edge in his use of video and computer technology in his coaching. He has his own line of instructional videos that one swimming website described as the "world's best coaching DVDs."
"The whole Ad'm thing is extremely unfortunate," said Hyung Kim, a Nadadores board member who also left the club in the wake of the Dusenbury controversy. "Hopefully USA Swimming will step up and suspend Ad'm and hopefully he will never coach again."
Dusenbury, who currently works for Voices for Children of San Antonio, a Texas nonprofit children's advocacy group, declined comment.
"I'm sorry I can't help you with that," Dusenbury said.
The president of Voices for Children of San Antonio said she was aware of the allegations against Dusenbury when he was hired.
"I did know the very basics," Kathleen Fletcher said in an email. "I do understand that, like any organization that works with or serves children, USA Swimming has to investigate any allegation. I also know that allegations may or may not be true. We followed up on references both here and in California – all excellent. To avoid any risk, the CEO of the major organization of which we are a partner agency did some additional contacting of people and of course we did a background check – no problems other than apparently an angry and vengeful ex-girlfriend."
"...Ad'm has done an excellent job for us."
The CEO Fletcher referred to is George Block, a former American Swimming Coaches Association president and longtime mentor to Dusenbury. Block, like Rose, is a member of the ASCA Hall of Fame.
Under California law, it is unlawful for a person 18 or older to have sexual intercourse with a person under 18 years of age. If there is a three year or more age difference, the adult could face felony charges, according to prosecutors at the Orange County District Attorney's office. If the adult is considered to hold a position of trust over the minor and is convicted, prosecutors would likely ask that the perpetrator be required to register under the California Sex Offender Registration Act, better known as Megan's Law. A swim coach is considered to be in such a position of trust, O.C. prosecutors said.
The young woman in the case, now a 22-year-old college student, was interviewed by Orange County Sheriff's Department investigators in September and denied that Dusenbury had a sexual relationship with her when she was underage, according to sheriff's department and Nadadores officials.
Susan Woessner, USA Swimming's athlete protection officer, declined comment.
Just months before the 2012 Olympic Games, the dispute over how Nadadores handled the Dusenbury allegations has divided a club that has consistently ranked among the most successful in the world and is one of the American Olympic movement's most recognized brands. A number of parents said they are upset with the club's response, saying that Nadadores did not pursue red flags surrounding Dusenbury with proper diligence in 2006 or after the allegations surfaced in August.
Other parents are angry with the club's decision to finally confront Dusenbury. Some parents have said Dusenbury should have been retained by Nadadores even if the allegations against him are proven, interviews show. At least 33 swimmers have left Nadadores as a result of the Dusenbury matter, club officials said.
"I definitely felt like it split the club," Brotherton said. "A group of 60 angry parents sent me nasty emails accusing me of trying to get rid of a great coach."
The Nadadores swim club was founded in 1968 by the Mission Viejo Company. Under coach Mark Schubert and later, under Rose, it emerged as a global power in what has become one of the Summer Olympics' marquee sport. Nadadores swimmers have won 20 Olympic medals, set 22 world records and 91 American records. The club has been operated by the Mission Viejo Nadadores Foundation since 1992.
"The fact is we're trying to move ahead," Rose said. "We can't, nor will we allow ourselves to be affected by this."
The DVD contains day-by-day photos of a 2006 journal that Dusenbury and the girl appear to have kept, labeled on the disc as "The Adventure Calendar." The datebook contains lists of swim meet and workout schedules, the girl's class and test schedule and social appointments with family and friends. The two appear to leave notes for each other and chronicle their romantic and sexual relationship.
The DVD also contains at least 17 photos of the girl in what Punlert says is Dusenbury's apartment. The disc also contains a slideshow titled "The Adventure" of more than 100 photos of Orange County landmarks, restaurants, beaches, malls, movie theaters and mall, church and school parking lots. At various points in the 2006 datebook the girl is described in what Punlert said is Dusenbury's handwriting as "Baby Girl" and "my wife." The disc also contains a note to Dusenbury dated "5.25.2010" from a second journal in a feminine hand that thanks Dusenbury and says "These 4 years have been magical, difficult, fun, adventurous, hard, memorable..."
"I believed that the contents of the disc to be legit," Brotherton said.
Kim also believes the documents and photos are authentic.
"Yes, I believe they are," Kim said. "Originally I was very skeptical because I know (computer files) can be manipulated. But when I saw the specificity of the thing, that is what pushed me over the edge in terms of believability. There are a lot of things on there, it's hard to discount that."
As early as May 2006, the couple appears concerned about being exposed. "'Reality-check' Coach's suspect," reads a May 1, 2006, entry into the datebook in what Punlert said is Dusenbury's handwriting. In August 2006 the girl's mother appears to learn of the relationship. "The worst day ever. Sweetheart's mom found out and Hell has broke loose. I'm afraid this will be the last thing ever recorded (at least for a while). My heart is empty...my life is over."
While USA Swimming records indicate that the girl left Nadadores to join Irvine Novaquatics, datebook entries indicate that the relationship continued.
Punlert said during her relationship with Dusenbury he confirmed that he had been involved with the girl. After discovering the DVD early last August, Punlert said she turned it over to Nadadores officials. Brotherton immediately contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Dusenbury was recalled from Stanford where he was coaching Nadadores swimmers at the USA Swimming Junior National Championships.
He resigned in August but later rescinded his resignation after a group of parents, buoyed by Rose's support of Dusenbury, confronted board members about their decision to make him return to Orange County in the middle of the National meet, board members said.
"We decided 'Hey, wait a second,' " Rose said. "We don't want to accept his resignation. Let him have his day in court."
The American Swimming Coaches Association's code of ethics states that "a coach member of the American Swimming Coaches Association shall not engage in sexual relations with any minor." Rose said he has not reported the allegations against Dusenbury to the ASCA.
Dusenbury was allowed to continue coaching until October when allegations of additional sexual impropriety surfaced. Dusenbury voluntarily left the club the weekend of October 22-23 after being confronted with those allegations.
"There was definitely a large stink by a bunch of parents about him being pulled way the meet and that we might lose him (to another club)," Kim said. "Rose was definitely pro Ad'm in terms of supporting his coach."
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