Senators to introduce bill in hopes of reforming U.S. Olympic sports after years of sexual abuse cases.
Two United States senators plan on introducing a bill on Tuesday that will hold U.S. Olympic sports bodies accountable for the sex scandals that have plagued sports in recent years.
U.S senators Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) led an 18-month investigation that found the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, formerly known as the U.S Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics failed to protect athletes under their watch and “knowingly concealed” a former team doctor's rampant sexual abuse of athletes.
The bill known as the Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019, can decertfty USOPC’s board of directors or any national governing body that fails to protect athletes and report abuse.
The new bill, if passed into law, hopes to provide clear guidelines on reporting abuse.
The bill would also require a review of national governing bodies at least every four years and require a $20 million a year payment for operating costs to the U.S. Center for SafeSport. SafeSport's mandate is to stop abuse among athletes before it happens.
“No longer would the (USOPC) be able to say, `That’s an NGB issue,’" Moran said. “It is now made clear they have oversight over those national governing bodies in these circumstances.”
Blumenthal cited the case of Larry Nassar, a U.S. team gymnastics doctor who for years abused athletes under his care.
Nassar sits in a Florida federal penitentiary and is serving a 60-year sentence after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. Nassar was also sentenced to 40 to 175 years in Michigan state prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors.
“He was enabled and emboldened by people in positions of trust who looked the other way in the face of this crushing, ongoing, vile evil," Blumenthal said of Nassar. "The institutions and individuals failed those athletes. We’re now at a moment of reckoning.”