Report: Notre Dame Athletic Director allegedly advised USA Gymnastics on sex abuse policy

Jack Swarbrick // WSBT 22

Two former USA Gymnastics presidents claim that Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick advised the organization on its policies related to sexual abuse.

Swarbrick served as general counsel for USA gymnastics while working at Baker & Daniels law firm, as it was known at the time, in Indianapolis.

In an report by the Indianapolis Star, Mike Jacki, USA Gymnastics President from 1983 to 1994, claims Jack Swarbrick discouraged the organization from distributing a booklet on child abuse to its members.

Swarbrick disputes that claim.

He also disputes claims made by Jacki that he advised the organization that they could only terminate members accused of sexual abuse if that person was charged and convicted in court.

"In the vast majority of the matters on which Baker & Daniels was consulted during the period I was involved, the professional member against whom a complaint had been filed was in the process of being prosecuted or had been convicted," Swarbrick told the Star in a written response. "The firm's role in this instance was to confirm the nature and fact of the criminal process and/or conviction. In the few instances where a criminal process had not already been initiated, it was my understanding the Federation encouraged the complainant also to pursue a criminal charge."

Another former USA Gymnastics president, Steve Penny, who served from 2005 to 2017, said during a 2015 deposition that sexual abuse issues were "managed by our attorney," and identified Swarbrick as the organization's legal counsel.

In the article, Swarbrick identifies the time frame from 1984 to 1996 as his "most significant period of engagement" with USA Gymnastics, and that "there are significant periods of time within the scope of inquiry about which I have no knowledge."

Swarbrick was not available for comment on Monday, although the university verified to WSBT that his comments were accurately reported.

"We have nothing to add beyond Mr. Swarbrick's comments to the Indianapolis Star, which are accurate as reported," said Dennis Brown, spokesman for Notre Dame.

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