An IndyStar investigation reveals how the sports organization was warned of sexual abuses to ahtletes and did nothing.
USA Gymnastics, a U.S.-based Olympic organization, failed to act or notify authorities after years of allegations of sexual abuse suffered by athletes from coaches, according to an investigation by IndyStar.
Several lawsuits accuse the organization of systematically dismissing allegations of misconduct, unless they came directly from either a victim or victim’s parents.
“USA Gymnastics had enough information, I think, to have done something about this,” said Lisa Ganser, mother of an abused gymnast. “It didn’t have to happen to my daughter, and it didn’t have to happen to other little girls.”
According to the investigation, more than 54 coaches over a period of 10 years from 1996 to 2006 were involved. Four of those cases included warnings and suspicion of abuse by coaches, who are alleged to have abused 14 underage gymnasts between them, but USA Gymnastics failed to notify authorities or open up an internal investigation, according to police and court records.
“USAG may not have been the hand that ultimately abused these innocent children, but it was definitely the arm,” said Shelley Haymaker, an attorney of abuse victims.
Court testimonies reveal that officials failed to even consider complaints from other coaches, alleging internal competition among teachers to obtain more students.
USAG is located in Indiana, where the law requires coaches, gym owners and officials of sport organizations to report child abuse cases.
“USA Gymnastics has a long and proactive history of developing policy to protect its athletes and will remain diligent in evaluating new and best practices which should be implemented,” said the organization’s president Steve Penny in a statement.
USAG is in charge of creating and promoting the U.S. Olympic team, and it has more than 121,000 athletes and 3,000 gyms around the country.
IndyStar – USA Today by teleSUR / cg-DB