Report: USA Gymnastics Failed To Report Sexual Abuse Of Its Athletes. | Gradient
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Report: USA Gymnastics failed to report sexual abuse of its athletes.

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On the eve of the 2016 Rio Olympics, a deeply troubling report from the IndyStar alleges that USA Gymnastics failed to alert authorities about allegations made by Team USA child athletes against their coaches. The paper acquired multiple documents evidencing a pattern of abuse by coaches and dismissal by USA Gymnastics officials, including a sworn testimony from 2013.

USA Gymnastics would not disclose the total number of sexual misconduct allegations it receives each year. But records show the organization compiled complaint dossiers on more than 50 coaches and filed them in a drawer in its executive office in Indianapolis. The contents of those files remain secret, hidden under seal in the case filed by Ganser’s daughter. IndyStar, as part of the USA TODAY Network, filed a motion seeking to make the files public. The judge in that case has not yet ruled.

But even without access to those files, IndyStar tracked down four cases in which USA Gymnastics was warned of suspected abuse by coaches but did not initiate a report to authorities.

In brief, here are a few of the abuse cases after the warnings:

  • Marvin Sharp, a 2010 US Coach of the year, was accused of inappropriate touching of minors. It took four years for USA Gymnastics to report Sharp to police, and only after receiving another accusation. Sharp eventually killed himself in jail.
  • USA Gymnastics received complaints about coach William McCabe as early as 1998. He coached Team USA girls for almost seven years, until a mother of one of his athletes made complaints to the FBI.
  • Mark Schiefelbein was charged with molesting a Tennessee girl in 2002 after the girl’s parents contacted police. But before then, Team USA received numerous complaints about his behavior. He’s serving a 36-year prison sentence.

Though USA Gymnastics has defended its handling of abuse complaints, including a recent statement issued by organization president Steve Penny, the IndyStar report features more damning and infuriating detail about the abuse and negligence.

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