Gymnastics scandal in the United States

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2016/12/15/20-year-toll-368-gymnasts-allege-sexual-exploitation/95198724/
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/15/usa-gymnastics-sexual-abuse-report
No one knows exactly how many children have been sexually exploited in America’s gyms over the past 20 years. But an IndyStar-USA TODAY Network review of hundreds of police files and court cases across the country provides for the first time a measure of just how pervasive the problem is.

At least 368 gymnasts have alleged some form of sexual abuse at the hands of their coaches, gym owners and other adults working in gymnastics. That’s a rate of one every 20 days. And it's likely an undercount.

IndyStar previously reported that top officials at USA Gymnastics, one of the nation’s most prominent Olympic organizations, failed to alert police to many allegations of sexual abuse that occurred on their watch and stashed complaints in files that have been kept secret. But the problem is far worse. A nine-month investigation found that predatory coaches were allowed to move from gym to gym, undetected by a lax system of oversight, or dangerously passed on by USA Gymnastics-certified gyms.
(So with the same type scandal in the UK's football (see http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/38211167 ) it really is time to get these people away from sport and children)
 
Robert5091 said:
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2016/12/15/20-year-toll-368-gymnasts-allege-sexual-exploitation/95198724/
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/15/usa-gymnastics-sexual-abuse-report
No one knows exactly how many children have been sexually exploited in America’s gyms over the past 20 years. But an IndyStar-USA TODAY Network review of hundreds of police files and court cases across the country provides for the first time a measure of just how pervasive the problem is.

At least 368 gymnasts have alleged some form of sexual abuse at the hands of their coaches, gym owners and other adults working in gymnastics. That’s a rate of one every 20 days. And it's likely an undercount.

IndyStar previously reported that top officials at USA Gymnastics, one of the nation’s most prominent Olympic organizations, failed to alert police to many allegations of sexual abuse that occurred on their watch and stashed complaints in files that have been kept secret. But the problem is far worse. A nine-month investigation found that predatory coaches were allowed to move from gym to gym, undetected by a lax system of oversight, or dangerously passed on by USA Gymnastics-certified gyms.
(So with the same type scandal in the UK's football (see http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/38211167 ) it really is time to get these people away from sport and children)

Well that is just....disturbing, to say the least. I hope there is a thorough investigation and all of those predators get punished.
 
Jul 4, 2009
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BullsFan22 said:
Robert5091 said:
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2016/12/15/20-year-toll-368-gymnasts-allege-sexual-exploitation/95198724/
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/dec/15/usa-gymnastics-sexual-abuse-report
No one knows exactly how many children have been sexually exploited in America’s gyms over the past 20 years. But an IndyStar-USA TODAY Network review of hundreds of police files and court cases across the country provides for the first time a measure of just how pervasive the problem is.

At least 368 gymnasts have alleged some form of sexual abuse at the hands of their coaches, gym owners and other adults working in gymnastics. That’s a rate of one every 20 days. And it's likely an undercount.

IndyStar previously reported that top officials at USA Gymnastics, one of the nation’s most prominent Olympic organizations, failed to alert police to many allegations of sexual abuse that occurred on their watch and stashed complaints in files that have been kept secret. But the problem is far worse. A nine-month investigation found that predatory coaches were allowed to move from gym to gym, undetected by a lax system of oversight, or dangerously passed on by USA Gymnastics-certified gyms.
(So with the same type scandal in the UK's football (see http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/38211167 ) it really is time to get these people away from sport and children)

Well that is just....disturbing, to say the least. I hope there is a thorough investigation and all of those predators get punished.
....this is just more of that PizzaGate conspiracy stuff....Merikans would never do something like this they cause they're just so exceptional....and besides this has Putin's fingerprints all over it....

Cheers
 
Nov 25, 2010
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This situation also occurs in ballet and other dance where there is typically a high amount of coach-student physical contact.

If coaches and instructors were prohibited from such 'touchy-feelly instructional contact' it would lessen the frequency of problems.
But it would also lessen the outcome of the instruction.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
"Sexual touching of any part of the body, clothed or unclothed"

Is one part of the definition of sexual child abuse. So who determines when physical contact becomes sexual?
 
Nov 25, 2010
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Re:

kingjr said:
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So who determines when physical contact becomes sexual?
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The actual 'determination' about a particular action is typically made by some legal or other 'authority figure'. And occurs 'after the fact'.

If the goal is to prevent such contact from occuring (rather than just punish afterwards), then it's important to understand what leads-up to it.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Apr 16, 2016
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Actually the adult pedophile determines it, they have the "power" and "authority" and it isn't "defined" publicly, but usually behind closed doors although sometimes it's just blatant (Sandusky) and nobody sees nuthin'. Wherever children congregate so do those interested wrong.

I'll assume you're talking about "grooming", when talking about the lead up.

Hollywood sounds like a cesspool, in plain sight.
An Open Secret
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eeGX4SlF1s

The British seem far more courageous in confronting this despicable subject.
Inside Story: The Secret Life of a Paedophile (The Peter Righton Cover-up)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OYgTcUctDA

btw, the Reddit "investigation" into pizzagate has been shut down but the pedophilia Reddit continues, go figure. The comedian Barry Crimmins knows all about it. He testified, years ago, before the US senate about what was going on in AOL chatrooms.
Call Me Lucky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FChmOC-Qjw
 
When I was a kid, the outcry was all about Little League coaches. Gymnastics allows even closer access as touching is more accepted as part of the 'coaching' process. The people doing this are beyond despicable.
 
Nov 25, 2010
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Re:

Starstruck said:
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I'll assume you're talking about "grooming", when talking about the lead up.
...
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No, not talking about any type of planned or intentional actions with a specific 'goal', only the typical coach-student interactions that are associated with the activity/sport.

In many (most?) cases the people involved seem to reach a level of contact and familiarity that isn't considered 'abuse' by them or others.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Apr 16, 2016
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Re: Re:

JayKosta said:
Starstruck said:
...
I'll assume you're talking about "grooming", when talking about the lead up.
...
---------------
No, not talking about any type of planned or intentional actions with a specific 'goal', only the typical coach-student interactions that are associated with the activity/sport.

In many (most?) cases the people involved seem to reach a level of contact and familiarity that isn't considered 'abuse' by them or others.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
Fair enough, except we're talking about child exploitation, sexual abuse, not constructive instruction. Adults/adolescents don't start having overwhelming desires to have sex with children out of the blue. They obsess and plan. That's the most vile aspect in many ways, these pervs. twist healthy interaction into a demented black hole. Welcome to the underground (or the dark web, as the case may be). I wish I knew nothing about it but once seen it's obvious and unavoidable. We meet regularly though there's no schedule required. Obvious is obvious. An ongoing not so serendipity.

Here, start @ 43:00
http://123movies.is/film/call-me-lucky-5527/watching.html
 
This ontop of the abuse scandals in swimming, the ongoing one in the UK (football) and many others.

Throw in the WADA issues, the IOC and FIFA corruption.

Its like sport is going through a very very dark place. Whatever comes out the other side may not be recognisable.
 
Nov 25, 2010
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Re: Re:

Starstruck said:
...
we're talking about child exploitation, sexual abuse, not constructive instruction. Adults/adolescents don't start having overwhelming desires to have sex with children out of the blue. They obsess and plan.
...
--------------------------------------------
Yes, I agree there are predatory exploitors as you mention.
The goal is how to prevent such exploitation BEFORE IT HAPPENS.

In cases of 'no warning' physical violence, prevention is difficult for vulnerable victims.

But in other cases there ARE warning signs of improper behaviour, and those 'signs' need to be recognized by everyone involved. And people need to know how to stop it before it turns to exploitation.
I doubt there are any 'easy answers' because at that 'first indication' point, there is an exisiting bond of trust, and perhaps dependence and some amount of affection involved.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
There is a whole lot of spotting (i.e. helping) a fellow gymnast out, especially when they are not feeling particularly confident about executing a certain trick. (You stand by them and touch their hips, their legs, or remind them to point their toes...)


This is very different from touching them in their very private spaces, though. (None of my coaches ever did that.)
 
I wouldn't be surprised if this happens in figure skating as well. Just like gymnastics and dance, there's a lot of young people, touching as part of the coaching and training, and the perception of innocence and purity in the beauty of the sport.
 
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jan/24/larry-nassar-sentenced-sexual-abuse-gymnastics
The former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar has been sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison for abusing athletes in his care.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina reached her decision after a sentence hearing that heard from dozens of women and girls, including the Olympic champions Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney.

Nassar had already admitted in November to molesting seven girls in his care under the guise of treatment. But a total of 156 girls and women came forward to speak at the seven-day sentencing hearing, saying they had also suffered abuse at his hands, with two dozen more submitting private letters to the court.

Late on Wednesday, the president of Michigan State University, where Nassar also treated athletes, said on Wednesday she was tendering her resignation. Lou Anna Simon had faced a barrage of criticism for not doing enough to halt the abuse by the doctor, including a scathing front-page editorial by the independent student newspaper that cast “Simon, her appointees and cheerleaders” as “enablers”.

“As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger,” Simon said in her resignation letter.

Judge Aquilina told Nassar Wednesday: “It is my honor to sentence you because, sir, you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again. Anywhere you walk, destruction would occur to those most vulnerable.”

She added: “I just signed your death warrant.”
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42811304
The judge dismissed Nassar's attempted apology as insincere, saying he would "be in darkness the rest of his life".

Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault against girls and young women, including Olympians.

The 54-year-old had already been sentenced to 60 years for possession of child pornography.
 
https://www.cjr.org/analysis/usa-gymnastics-orange-county-register.php
...another paper has been investigating USA Gymnastics for over a decade. The Orange County Register wasn’t mentioned by Povilaitis, but veteran staff writer Scott Reid has been reporting on the “Darwinian system” within USA Gymnastics for more than 13 years.

His two major investigations—in 2004 and 2011—on abuse within the sport were overshadowed, first by news about doping by several professional athletes and later by revelations about Jerry Sandusky—the Penn State assistant football coach who was found guilty of molesting several young boys. Reid wonders what would have happened if his 2004 investigation into physical abuse of gymnasts had received more attention. “If people had really started to take a hard look, that was 13 years ago, then I think a lot of this would have been avoided.”
...
In addition to reporting on LA’s Olympic bid and the NFL’s relocation to LA, Reid has also led investigations into the International Olympic Committee, the US Department of Education, the California Legislature, and incidents of abuse by USA Swimming coaches. “I think in terms of scandals, [USA Swimming is] on par with USA Gymnastics,” he says. “Just the neglect and the culture that created these abusive coaches. There’s not a Nassar-figure we’ve found so far, but I think eventually it points to the [US Olympic Committee].”
 
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/05/gymnastics-sexual-abuse-nassar-penny-597464
The former head of USA Gymnastics in a tense session with lawmakers on Tuesday refused to answer questions about the abuse of Olympic athletes and the Larry Nassar scandal, saying he was acting on the advice of lawyers.

Steve Penny was president of USA Gymnastics while Nassar, the disgraced Michigan State University doctor who treated Olympic gymnasts, sexually abused athletes. Penny was subpoenaed to appear before the Senate commerce committee, which has launched an investigation.

Penny in not answering questions invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself. He listened while another witness, Rhonda Faehn, the former USA Gymnastics women’s program director, testified that she told Penny about multiple complaints against Nassar. She said that Penny told her to keep quiet "for fear of possibly impeding any investigation of Nassar."

Faehn, however, said she was not aware of any delay in contacting authorities or attempts to misinform the public. Penny left the hearing room shortly after Faehn testified.

Nassar was sentenced in three separate courts in the sexual assault cases from December 2017 to February 2018 and will need to serve at least 100 years in prison. Michigan State University has announced a $500 million settlement with Nassar’s victims.

Also subpoenaed to testify was former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon, though Simon did respond to questions from senators.

Senators unsuccessfully probed Penny on what he knew about, when he knew it, and how he acted on that information. Among those questions: Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) asked whether it was correct that Penny waited 41 days to contact law enforcement about allegations against Nassar.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), meanwhile, told Penny that the committee has documentation that Penny had "questions" about Nassar as early as 2013. Blumenthal said another document from 2014 refers to a "code of silence and indicates that you knew about it."

"In the absence of your testimony, documents will speak for you," Blumenthal told Penny.

Penny said he "would like to" answer the questions, but that his attorney advised him against it.

Faehn submitted to the committee emails she and Penny had exchanged in connection with Nassar, including one from 2015 in which Penny instructed her and others "to not have any conversations with anyone concerning this issue until further notice."

In another email, Penny said he would prefer internal interviews with athletes did not include their coaches or parents. Penny noted in the email that those athletes were adults. But Faehn hand wrote on a copy of the email that she submitted that it "bothered me greatly" and that "myself being a parent, there is no way I would want someone to not notify me if something may have happened to my child."
 
https://www.thecut.com/2018/10/mary-bono-usa-gymnastics-simone-biles-aly-raisman.html
Less than 72 hours after Simone Biles called out Mary Bono for a deleted a tweet criticizing Nike for making Colin Kaepernick the face of their company, Bono resigned from her role as interim president of USA Gymnastics. She held the position for just five days.

Her resignation comes after a tweet from Aly Raisman on Monday, identifying the law firm that Bono worked for in 2015 as one of the parties responsible for covering up Larry Nassar’s sex-abuse scandal.

“We now know USOC & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels (Mary Bono’s firm) were also told then,” Raisman tweeted. “Yet Nassar continued to abuse children for 13 months!? Why hire someone associated with the firm that helped cover up our abuse?”

On Tuesday afternoon, the New York Times reported Bono would be stepping down from her role. see https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/16/sports/mary-bono-usa-gymnastics.html
 
New national organization for gymnasts in the US needed -
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/nov/05/usoc-decertifying-usa-gymnastics-ngb
The US Olympic Committee has taken the first steps toward decertifying USA Gymnastics’ recognition as the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States.

The decision to mete out the so-called “nuclear option” comes after years of criticism regarding the organization’s handling of sexual assault complaints, including those which culminated in the sex-abuse scandal involving former team doctor Larry Nassar.

“This is a situation in which there are no perfect solutions,” USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement. “Seeking to revoke recognition is not a conclusion that we have come to easily. In the short-term, we have to work to ensure that USAG gymnasts have the support necessary to excel on and off the field of play. We are building plans to do just that.

Hirshland said Monday’s complaint is the first step of a process for revocation will include the identifying of a review panel, a hearing, the issue of a report, a recommendation from the panel and a vote by the USOC board on whether or not to decertify. She added the USOC has given USA Gymnastics the option of surrender its recognition voluntarily.

In an open letter to the gymnastics community, Hirshland said the challenges facing USA Gymnastics “are simply more than it is capable of overcoming in its current form”.
 
https://www.thecut.com/2018/11/how-did-larry-nassar-deceive-so-many-for-so-long.html
It has by the fall of 2018 become commonplace to describe the 499 known victims of Larry Nassar as “breaking their silence,” though in fact they were never, as a group, particularly silent. Over the course of at least 20 years of consistent abuse, women and girls reported to every proximate authority. They told their parents. They told gymnastics coaches, running coaches, softball coaches. They told Michigan State University police and Meridian Township police. They told physicians and psychologists. They told university administrators. They told, repeatedly, USA Gymnastics. They told one another. Athletes were interviewed, reports were written up, charges recommended. The story of Larry Nassar is not a story of silence. The story of Larry Nassar is that of an edifice of trust so resilient, so impermeable to common sense, that it endured for decades against the allegations of so many women.
...
It was, rather, a set of external hard drives — tossed to the curb in the trash in the days after Denhollander went public, on a day when the garbage crew was behind schedule, and recovered by a police officer.* Had the crew been on time, had the officer been late, had the warrant come through a day after Nassar decided to dump his digital history on the street, he might still have the support of most of the people he abused.

Healthy people tend not to distinguish between varieties of child pornography or think much about the habits of its consumption, but Nassar’s accumulation of more than 37,000 images suggests an unusual level of deviance even among pedophiles. According to a sentencing memorandum issued by federal prosecutors for the Western District of Michigan, these images form a particularly “graphic” and “hard-core” collection, including children as young as infants and images of children being raped by adults.
 
https://www.rawstory.com/2018/12/usa-gymnastics-reeling-abuse-claims-files-bankruptcy/
USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, saying that it is staggering under the weight of lawsuits filed by hundreds of women who were sexually abused by former national team doctor Larry Nassar.

The organization’s chairwoman, Kathryn Carson, cited the lawsuits in the decision to seek protection from creditors in federal bankruptcy court in Indianapolis.
...
The filing could complicate efforts by Nassar’s victims to recover damages from the organization through lawsuits. Typically, a bankruptcy petition will temporarily halt any litigation while the process unfolds in bankruptcy court.

“This bankruptcy filing will suspend all lawsuits by Nassar survivors and their ongoing efforts to discover the truth about who at USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee knew about Nassar’s criminal conduct and failed to stop it,” John Manly, an attorney whose firm represents around 150 of Nassar’s victims, said in a statement.

In a court filing, USAG’s chief financial officer, Scott Shollenbarger, said the organization has estimated the impact of the lawsuits at between $75 million and $100 million.

“The survivors’ claims, in the aggregate, may exceed the available resources of USAG,” he said in the sworn statement.

Carson said victims’ claims will be paid by USAG’s insurers, but Shollenbarger’s declaration said insurance proceeds “may be insuffucient” to cover all claims.
 

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