Everything about this report is completely awful.
On Thursday, the Indy Star released its findings from a nine-month long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against 368 female United States gymnasts. The lengthy report comes on the heels of an August scandal which reveal USA Gymnastics officials routinely ignored allegations of abuse for years.
Now the recent investigation has brought even more horrific claims to light, alleging that over the past 20 years, 368 gymnasts suffered sexual abuse at the hands of more than 100 coaches, gym owners, and other adults.
According to legal docs obtained by the publication, the victims were mostly girls, some of who were as young as six.
The allegations range from coaches covertly photographing 6-year-olds in the nude, a coach engaging in “almost daily sex” with a 14-year-old, and another coach who “slipped a finger inside girls’ leotards”.
As for why these incidences went largely unreported or noticed, sources explained how gyms feared molestation claims would hurt their businesses. Some officials even feared firing an accused coach would ruin their chances of reaching the championships.
“Nothing is more important to USA Gymnastics, the Board of Directors and CEO Steve Penny than protecting athletes, which requires sustained vigilance by everyone coaches, athletes, parents, administrators and officials. We are saddened when any athlete has been harmed in the course of his or her gymnastics career. We find it appalling that anyone would exploit a young athlete or child in this manner, and recognize the effect this behavior can have on a person’s life. USA Gymnastics has been proactive in helping to educate the gymnastics community and will continue to take every punitive action available within our jurisdiction and cooperate fully with law enforcement.”
All we can say is, we hope the organization makes some MAJOR CHANGES going forward. This rampant sex abuse is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
So, what do YOU think of the report?
[Image via USA Gymnastics.]