An open letter released on behalf of victims of sexual abuse has called on USA Swimming to dismantle "a culture of sexual abuse" within the organisation ©Getty Images

An open letter, released on behalf of six victims, has called on USA Swimming to "dismantle" a culture of sexual abuse within the organisation.

The letter, delivered to USA Swimming chief executive Tim Hinchey yesterday, has called on the organisation to take action to what it describes as an "epidemic" of sexual abuse within the governing body.

The letter, written on behalf of six victims by their attorney Robert Allard, includes the names of eight individuals, who the victims say should be immediately removed from USA Swimming.

An extract from the letter reads: "Having been deeply involved in the handling of sex abuse claims against USA Swimming for more than a decade, it is clear to us that there remains a deeply embedded culture within your organisation which condones the criminal sexual behaviour of coaches towards its underage athletes.

"This culture is similar to that of the Catholic Church, where a long-standing unofficial code enabled rampant sexual abuse by punishing those who report and rewarding those who remain silent. This must end, and it must end now."

Last month six women filed lawsuits alleging that USA Swimming failed to protect them from sexual abuse from coaches Mitch Ivey, Everett Uchiyama and Andy King.

Although the open letter acknowledges some action was taken following the filing of the lawsuits, it calls on Hinchey to go further and "publicly and permanently ban" eight individuals from USA Swimming.

The first individual listed is Murray Stephens, who coached Team USA at their last home summer Olympics - Atlanta 1996.

The letter claims that USA Swimming "has known since 2011 that Stephens is a sexual predator", but instead of banning him, allowed him to "quietly resign and be showered with honours and accolades."

Paul Bergen, who was an Olympic coach in 1980, 1984, 1988 and 2000 is the second name on the list.

An open letter addressed to USA Swimming chief executive Tim Hinchey has called on the organisation to address a so-called
An open letter addressed to USA Swimming chief executive Tim Hinchey has called on the organisation to address a so-called "culture of abuse" ©Getty Images

The letter claims that "USA Swimming has known for years that Bergen sexually abused Olympian and gold medal winner Deena Deardurff-Schmidt throughout her teenage years", but has not banned Bergen.

The third name listed is John Leonard, the longtime head of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), who the letter claims has "a long history of opposing meaningful solutions to protect children from abuse."

Mary Jo Swalley, a former USA Swimming vice-president is the fourth name on the list, with the letter claiming that while serving in leadership roles Swalley "failed to support efforts to establish policies and programmes aimed at preventing sexual abuse by coaches and otherwise and based on information gathered to date, covered up for predator coaches."

The fifth name on the list is Mark Schubert, whom the letter describes as "arguably the most decorated coach in the history of USA Swimming."

The letter then claims that the former national team director for USA Swimming "has an established history of remaining silent and failing to take action to protect minor swimmers when presented with information about predator coaches."

Clint Benton is the sixth name on the list, with the letter alleging that the long-standing Board member for Pacific Swimming complied with orders to cover up complaints of sexual abuse concerning coach Andy King.

Millie Nygren, a long serving Board member at Pacific Swimming, is the seventh name on the list, with the letter alleging that she failed to notify law enforcement agencies about King's behaviour.

The final name on the list is swimming coach Steve Morselli, with the letter alleging that he covered up a sexual abuse complaint against King.

In the open letter Allard writes: "For decades, the organisation {USA Swimming} has chosen to treat the symptom instead of fixing the root cause that has led to the molestation of countless children. This needs to end - immediately."

insidethegames has contacted USA Swimming for a comment about the open letter.