Feb 17 2017
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced she will introduce a bill to require that USA Gymnastics and similar organizations report sex-abuse allegations to law enforcement.
60 Minutes on Sunday will report on alleged sexual abuse by Dr. Larry Nassar, the longtime Team USA physician. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that USA Gymnastics failed to inform law enforcement about allegations against Dr. Nassar for more than a month.
Allegations of abuse are not limited to USA Gymnastics. The Washington Post this week reported that allegations of abuse against Marc Gitelman, a USA Taekwondo coach, were also ignored.
Feinstein intends to introduce the bill soon. She released the following statement:
“News reports, civil and criminal cases, as well as discussions I’ve had with sex-abuse victims, appear to reveal systemic problems within USA Gymnastics that have allowed allegations of sexual abuse go unreported.
“I met with some of the victims and it was one of the most powerful, emotional meetings I’ve had during my 24 years in the Senate. The abuse these women suffered will stay with them the rest of their lives.
“I’m working on a bill to require USA Gymnastics and adults who work with juvenile athletes to immediately report allegations of sexual abuse to local and federal law enforcement.
“Our bill would apply to all amateur athletics governing bodies, the organizations responsible for overseeing amateur sports nationwide. They have a special obligation to protect young athletes and must immediately put an end to any abuse they become aware of.”
Feinstein and Senate colleagues have sent two letters to USA Gymnastics since the Indianapolis Star first reported on mishandling of abuse allegations in August 2016. The first letter inquired about the organization’s policies with regard to reports of abuse by coaches and other personnel. The second letter requested changes to those policies, including mandatory reporting.