COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Legal Newsline) – A group of female athletes has sued the U.S. Olympic committee for “failing to prevent the sexual assault, abuse, molestation and nonconsensual sexual touching and harassment by Lawrence Gerard Nassar and other USOC/USA Gymnastics Coaches,” according to a recent complaint.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court District of Colorado on March 12. The adult female plaintiffs, who are listed as anonymous in the suit, claim that the organization knew by 2010 that it needed to act to protect young female athletes but failed to act for years.
“Since as early as 1999, USOC and its officers and directors were fully cognizant of the increasing threat of sexual misconduct in youth sports but failed to implement reporting and action requirements and obligations of USOC officers and directors, employees, agents and those in charge of the Gymnastics (National Governing Board) which, if implemented, would have prevented the injuries to plaintiffs,” the complaint states.
“The nationwide plan was finally implemented only after the Nassar scandal erupted and caught the attention of the world. For many of the plaintiffs, the implementation of real safeguards against sexual violence was too little, too late."
According to the suit, the U.S. Olympic Committee created a task force in 2010 with the purpose of investigating child sexual assault in their organization. A report was presented to the board of directors in 2012, but the board failed to do anything about the situation, the plaintiffs allege.
The plaintiffs claim that it was only when the news of Nassar hit the headlines that the organization took any action.
Nassar was sentenced to spend 40 to 175 years in prison in January 2018. More than 150 women alleged he had sexually abused them.
“Since 1982, more than 290 coaches and officials associated with the USOC sports organizations have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct, according to a Washington Post review of sport governing body banned lists, news clips and court records in several states,” the complaint states.