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Members of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) were told at least 20 years ago that many of it’s young athletes were being sexually assaulted by coaches, doctors and staff, but did nothing to stop the abuse, according to recent statements by a former Olympics official.
A report by Reuters News indicates that the statement came in a filing related to complaint (PDF) brought by three-time Olympic gold medalist Alexandra Rose Raisman earlier this year, which alleges that she was the target of serial molestation, sexual abuse and harassment by team physician Larry Nassar, who has been convicted of assaulting hundreds of girls and women.
Recent court documents indicate that former USA Gymnastics (USAG) President Kathy Scanlan said she told the committee of abuse issues during her term from 1994 to 1998, but very little action was taken.
Scanlan’s testimony claims that she published the names of USAG members who were fired due to suspicions of abuse in USA Gymnastics magazine when she got no help from the Olympic committee.
Bob Colarossi, who became USAG president after Scanlan, also said he tried to address problems and sent a letter to USOC in 1999, warning that the safety procedures to prevent abuse were inadequate.
USOC has officially filed a complaint seeking to remove USAG’s status as the governing group overseeing the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.
The move came after claims made by hundreds of women and girls molested by Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University (MSU) gynecologist who worked with USA Gymnastics.
Many of the women, who call themselves the “Sister Survivors”, indicate that they told MSU staff, USA Gymnastics officials and others about Nassar’s behavior, but were discouraged from reporting the incidents. Some testimony even suggested that MSU officials told the survivors that they simply did not know the difference between sexual assault and a medical examination. However, after victims began to step forward publicly, the abuse finally got over-due attention and Nassar was arrested, tried, and found guilty on multiple charges.
Nassar will spend the rest of his life in jail, having received a federal sentence of 60 years on child pornography charges. He has also received two additional sentences; including one for 40 to 175 years, and another of 40 to 125 years from verdicts in two Michigan courts.
There have also been a number of sexual abuse lawsuits brought against USA Diving for alleged incidents of assault by coaches in that Olympic sport as well.