On March 3rd, a group of U.S. senators introduced legislation designed to protect amateur athletes by requiring coaches and trainers to report any suspected sexual abuse. In light of the recent allegations surrounding the USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, and USA Taekwondo organizations and the unreported abuse their athletes endured, legislatures decided to take action. The proposed bill requires members of amateur athletic organizations to report any sexual abuse allegations to the local or federal government or approved child-welfare agency immediately. The bill also proposes certain measures that would train coaches on how to prevent sexual abuse, and make it easier for victims to report abuse.
Recently, the USA gymnastics team received a sexual abuse complaint against one of its doctors. The team handled the issue internally, only reaching out to authorities more than a month after the initial complaint. When an issue this serious takes this long to reach authorities, people begin to take notice. Similar instances have been reported in many athletic teams, catching the attention of lawmakers all over the U.S., especially California Senator Dianne Feinstein. “Amateur athletic governing bodies, coaches, and personnel have a special obligation to do all they can to protect young athletes in their care,” said Sen. Feinstein on her website, “All allegations of sex abuse must be promptly reported to local or federal law enforcement. Otherwise, they may not be treated with the seriousness that’s required.”
Senator Feinstein has been working on this legislation by reaching out to other senators and political supporters, and she also met with the sexual assault victims of the USA Gymnastics team. The legislation, officially dubbed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act of 2017, was introduced with the support of a bipartisan group of Senators including Elizabeth Warren and Marco Rubio together with many of the members of the USA Gymnastics National Team. As one team member and abuse victim stated, “I appreciate Senator Feinstein and her colleagues taking a horrendous tragedy and creating crucial change to protect future athletes. By implementing such change, I feel like my pain can finally have a voice!”
If you or someone you know was sexually abused as a child, please contact Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for legal help, today.