By: Cody Boteler, Senior Editor
News Editor Sam Shelton and I went to Maureen Mead’s trial last week (see pg. 7), and, like, dang, guys. It was, easily, the most intense thing that I’ve covered for The Towerlight so far—both as a person and as a reporter.
The courtroom was packed with members of the swimming and diving team—there, presumably, to show support for the affected women and to watch the fate of their former coach unfold. It was a beautifully human moment, seeing that kind of solidarity.
I still remember, vividly, when a few members of the swimming and diving team reached out to The Towerlight last semester to meet with us, because they felt they had waited too long since the phone was found for answers.
Two Towerlighters met with those team members in the Union and we just talked. It was candid, powerful and hard. One of the team members who spoke with us, I learned at the trial, was one of the women in the locker room when the phone was found.
It was a wonderful thing, to see the members of the team get, I hope at least, some kind of closure. In investigating and following this story, it’s been nice watching the team members advocate for themselves and to not let this go.
It was hard to hold back tears listening to the seven victim impact statements from the women on the team who were in the locker room when Maureen Mead’s iPhone was discovered.
They talked about losing their sense of identity, developing depression and anxiety and feeling betrayed.
They cried as they talked about Maureen Mead being like a second mom to them.
Imagining the betrayal and the pain those women felt and were still feeling, even for a second, was heartbreaking.
Their testimonies, though, showed an undeniable courage. It couldn’t have been easy to stand up and say aloud, to the court, how the incident had affected their lives—especially with Maureen Mead just a few feet away.
I hope that the women who stood up and spoke, even though they might not be entirely happy with the outcome of the plea hearing, feel some sense of closure.
I hope that, despite the anxiety and stress and fear that has come from this process, will hope to go away.
And I hope, sincerely and truly, to be done with all this. I hope that the next time someone from the swim team talks to a reporter, it’s because of the swimmers successes, not because of drama surrounding the team.
This hasn’t been a regular crime story. This has been a story about broken trust, cover-ups and heartbreak. It’s been tough. It wasn’t nearly as hard as a reporter as it was a person, but it was still tricky.
The Towerlight faced (and won) a Public Information Act request battle. We had to grapple with the ethics of using unnamed sources—would it hurt our credibility (I don’t, for the record, think it did) or make us look opportunistic?
And then there was the difficulty of keeping track of what was happening in the courtroom and scrambling to write everything down, because recording devices aren’t allowed in court.
Or, put more simply—I am so, so glad to be, finally, closing the book on this. The saga of Maureen Mead has dragged on long enough and impacted enough lives.
Here’s to the swimming and diving team and all their accomplishments. Here’s to the bonds between them that were, undoubtedly, strengthened by this experience they took on together.
And here’s to their success and happiness—may they do well at the CAA Championship this month and make it all the way to the NCAA tournament.