386 young gymnasts cry sexual abuse

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LOS ANGELES: USA Gymnastics is under scrutiny after an Indianapolis Star investigation into claims by at least 386 young gymnasts that they were sexually assaulted by coaches or other adults involved in the sport.

The newspaper’s report on Thursday was the product of a nine-month investigation and came on the heels of its report in August that found USA Gymnastics officials failed to alert authorities when its coaches were accused of sexual abuse.

In its latest probe the Star reports that many of the adults accused of misconduct were allowed to move from gym to gym, including working in facilities that were certified by USA Gymnastics.

“Nothing is more important to USA Gymnastics, the Board of Directors and chief executive Steve Penny than protecting athletes, which requires sustained vigilance by everyone – coaches, athletes, parents, administrators and officials,” the organization said in a statement.


“We are saddened when any athlete has been harmed in the course of his or her gymnastics career.”

However, Star reporters found that some who contacted USA Gymnastics about possible sexual misconduct were dissatisfied with the response from the governing body, which sets competition rules and decides the US Olympic team.

“In more than a dozen cases reviewed by IndyStar, gymnasts, coaches, gym owners and others expressed disappointment with USA Gymnastics’ response when they contacted the organization about potential sexual misconduct,” the newspaper said. “Some said they never received a reply.”

The report published Thursday comes after lawsuits filed this year by two former US women’s gymnasts against doctor Larry Nassar, a former longtime doctor for USA Gymnastics, accusing him of sexual assault.

One of those lawsuits, filed in October, also names famed coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi, saying they failed to protect the gymnast.

AFP

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