On Friday, we shared the horrifying story about the allegations being made against USA Gymnastics, an organization being accused of perpetuating a culture of rampant sexual abuse. Now, we're delving into the specifics of some of the accusations.
At least 368 people have come forward claiming a plethora of abuses on the part of USA Gymnastics, with many saying the organization actively worked to protect pedophiles in order to maintain its reputation and prestige.
The Indianapolis Star Tribune starts with a short list of some of the specific accusations:
"A 12-year-old gymnast molested by an Olympic coach during “therapy” sessions.
Children as young as six secretly photographed nude by coaches.
Coaches who slipped a finger inside girls’ leotards.
A coach having almost daily sex with a 14-year-old at one of the country’s most prestigious gyms."
Perhaps even more frightening than the absuses themselves is the way they were allowed to continue: “It’s very serious,” said Nancy Hogshead-Makar, an Olympic gold-medal swimmer and attorney who is now CEO of the advocacy group Champion Women. "It's just too easy for coaches to keep getting hired and hired and hired. Sexual abuse thrives on the fact that people are embarrassed about the topic, ashamed to talk about it, and they keep quiet about it. And that's exactly why molesting coaches keep getting hired at the next place. Nobody talks about a coach that is inappropriate with athletes; the coach quietly moves away and gets hired someplace else."
Teen Vogue also noted some of the biggest problems in attempting to tackle and prevent these atrocities from happening in the future: "[T]he background check requirement only applies to coaches and judges, and not to gym owners, and doesn’t help protect children from adults who have acted inappropriately but haven’t been arrested. Not only that, but USA Gymnastics has also fought the release of sealed documents that would shed more light on these issues, and takes no responsibility for tracking the firings of coaches, insisting that 'member clubs are independent businesses,' who have to set their own standards."
Many are now calling on outside organizations to put pressure on USA Gymnastics to do a better job of both investigating and condemning criminal behavior. Hogshead-Makar added: “The Olympic committee and national governing bodies have to set a standard, say what the rules are, and then they have to have a mechanism to enforce those rules. If they aren’t willing to enforce the rules, it’s all a lot of talk."
[Photo: Getty Images]