Senate panel releases USOC abuse-prevention documents
In advance of a hearing that could reshape sex abuse reporting guidelines in Olympic sports, a Senate panel released more than 330 pages about the U.S. Olympic Committee's efforts to make sports safe for children.
The hearing is for a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that calls for organizations overseeing Olympic sports to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to appropriate law enforcement or child-welfare authorities.
Earlier this month, CEO Steve Penny of USA Gymnastics resigned under pressure because of the federation's handling of a number of abuse cases. Feinstein has been among those who are critical of how USA Gymnastics has reacted to the cases.
The USOC information was provided to members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. It details the federation's SafeSport program, which included a handbook on how leaders in Olympic sports should handle sex-abuse complaints. It also details the USOC's founding of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which opened earlier this month.
Feinstein's bill would rewrite the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act to streamline the process for victims to report abuse.
The act, which guides the Olympic movement in the United States, guarantees athletes and coaches a hearing before they can be banned for misconduct. In the past, USA Gymnastics has cited the act to explain why it didn't act on certain cases.
Scott Blackmun, the CEO of the USOC, told The Washington Post earlier this month that interpreting the act to impede investigations is wrong. He also said the new U.S. Center for SafeSport, an independent office that will investigate sex-abuse cases, should prevent future misunderstandings.