George H. Morris, one of the top equestrian trainers and a former United States Olympic team coach, was banned for life from the United States Equestrian Federation due to an investigation into "sexual misconduct involving a minor," as detailed on the USEF's website. The U.S. Center for SafeSport issued the ban Monday, which USEF will implement and enforce.
According to the New York Times, which first reported the suspension, the lifetime ban is the most severe punishment given out by the United States Center for SafeSport. Through the Times, spokesman Dan Hill said the designation of a permanent suspension was "reserved for the most egregious cases." The center is an investigative body charged with examining sexual misconduct in Olympic sports.
The 81-year-old Morris said he would appeal the decision, according to the Times.
"I am deeply troubled by the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s findings regarding unsubstantiated charges for events that allegedly occurred between 1968 and 1972," Morris said in a statement. "I contest these findings wholeheartedly and am in the process of disputing them.
"I have devoted my life to equestrian sport and the development of future riders, coaches and Olympians. Any allegations that suggest I have acted in ways that are harmful to any individual, the broader equestrian community, and sport that I love dearly are false and hurtful."
Morris won the silver medal as a show jumper in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He coached the U.S. and Brazilian Olympic teams and has become prominent in the equestrian world as an author and coach.