Report: Dept. of Justice Investigating Sexual Abuse in US Olympic Organizations

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - MAY 14:  General views of the United States Olympic Training Center on May 14, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched "multiple wide-ranging criminal investigations into sexual abuse in U.S. Olympic sports organizations and into potential financial and business misconduct throughout the U.S. Olympic system," according to the Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Davis O'Brien.

Units dedicated to money laundering and child exploitations have already sent grand-jury subpoenas to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and U.S. Center for SafeSport.

In addition, Justice Department prosecutors are looking into how FBI offices acted upon receiving allegations against former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar in 2015 and 2016.

Nassar received concurrent sentences of 40 to 175 years and 40 to 125 years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault.

The Indianapolis Star first reported on the allegations against Nassar in September 2016. A previous investigation from the Star in August 2016 unearthed years of additional allegations against USA Gymnastics coaches.

The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection opened an investigation into the matter and released its report in July:

"Nassar committed his criminal sexual conduct by himself, but multiple institutions responsible for keeping amateur athletes safe—including the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and USAG, the National Governing Body (NGB) designated by USOC to administer amateur gymnastics—failed to adequately respond to credible allegations against Nassar."

The report also outlined issues with the FBI's handling of claims against Nassar.

"Nassar remained employed by [Michigan State] for 420 days after the FBI received a report from USAG of credible allegations against Nassar on July 27, 2015," the report read. "The FBI failed to pursue a course of action that would have immediately protected victims in harm's way."

Along with the Nassar scandal, the USOC was the subject of a lawsuit along with USA Taekwondo filed in May 2018 centered on sexual assault allegations against Steven and Jean Lopez.

According to CNN's Emanuella Grinberg, the lawsuit "accuses USOC and USA Taekwondo of knowingly participating in sex trafficking by allowing the Lopez brothers to sexually abuse the plaintiffs and numerous other young women as they traveled around the world—representing and enriching the two organizations in the process."

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