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Thu Aug 4, 2016, 09:57 PM

 

Reports of sex abuse allegations rock USA Gymnastics; accused of covering up abuse

Officials at USA Gymnastics failed to report incidents of sexual abuse by its coaches to the police, leading to the abuse of at least 14 more underage gymnasts, an investigation by the Indianapolis Star found.

According to the report, which was published on Thursday, August 4, the organization, which acts as the sportís national governing body, hid at least four incidents of suspected abuse from police over the years.

One particularly dramatic case involved a detailed complaint that USA Gymnastics reportedly received in 2011 about 2010 national Womenís Coach of the Year, Marvin Sharp, who was accused of inappropriately touching minors. According to the Indianapolis Star, the organization did not report Sharp to police at the time, despite being warned that he shouldnít be allowed around children.

The organization instead reported Sharp four years later, after it was confronted with another disturbing allegation, this time involving Sharp touching a gymnastís vagina, trimming her pubic hair and taking explicit photos of her since she was 12 years old, according to the report. Sharp was sentenced to prison last fall, but killed himself in his jail cell shortly afterward.

The three other incidents had similar story lines involving coaches who had thick files of complaints brought against them before they were turned into the authorities.

The Indianapolis Star reports that in 2013, two former USA Gymnastics officials admitted under oath that it was the organizationís policies to dismiss sexual abuse allegations unless they came directly from a victim or a victimís parents.


https://www.yahoo.com/celebrity/usa-gymnastics-reportedly-failed-tell-223639973.html

Sounds similar to the Sandusky scandal at Penn State. The organization covers up and protects abusive coaches.

8 replies, 1386 views

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Reply Reports of sex abuse allegations rock USA Gymnastics; accused of covering up abuse (Original post)
davidn3600 Aug 2016 OP
jberryhill Aug 2016 #1
cherokeeprogressive Aug 2016 #2
mythology Aug 2016 #4
oberliner Aug 2016 #5
Proud liberal 80 Aug 2016 #3
mythology Aug 2016 #7
Proud liberal 80 Aug 2016 #8
oberliner Aug 2016 #6

Response to davidn3600 (Original post)

Thu Aug 4, 2016, 10:04 PM

1. Horrifying


That one really is just horrifying to me. The entire point is about building confidence and achievement.

I can't fathom the depravity of someone who would develop the expertise to be a gymnastics coach at that level and then use that position to do something so outrageously unconscionable.

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Response to davidn3600 (Original post)

Thu Aug 4, 2016, 10:42 PM

2. Two words: Bella Whateverhisnamewas. Gymnastics coach.

 

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 4, 2016, 11:30 PM

4. Do you mean Bela Karolyi?

To the best of my knowledge he's never been accused of sexual violence or impropriety. He's been accused of other things like being too harsh on the gymnasts and not letting them eat enough, but others have defended his (and his wife's) methods of coaching as getting the best out of them athletically and making them tough enough to compete at the highest level.

Gymnastics at the elite level for women, has such a short window and such high and specific physical demands that it's really hard to compare to anything else.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 4, 2016, 11:37 PM

5. He has never been accused of any such behavior

If you mean Bela Karoly.

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Response to davidn3600 (Original post)

Thu Aug 4, 2016, 11:06 PM

3. I only watch and pay attention

To gymnastics every four years and I always thought it was strange on how the coaches interacted with the athletes on tv. All the long and tight hugs, massages, and other touches on the body seemed weird, especially with what the athletes were wearing.

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Response to Proud liberal 80 (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 4, 2016, 11:46 PM

7. If you're in a gymnastics gym, it pretty quickly becomes routine seeing women in leos

You don't notice after a while because it's what everybody is wearing.

As for the touching, it's a sport that is fairly unique in that in spotting, you are eventually going to touch a spot covered by a bathing suit. It's inevitable and accidentally grabbing somebody's butt is a small price to pay for not letting them land on their neck. Much like with the leos, you don't really notice after a while. So there is a built in comfort with the idea that this person can touch you and it's not a bad thing.

But also the sport is very mental and you are out there competing (even on a team) by yourself in a way most other sports don't. There's a fair amount of teammate/coach hugging in sports like figure skating as well for much the same reason. In a sport like football, you don't have to be perfect to win because you can play a part in making the other team play worse. Even in a solo sport like tennis, you can impact how the other player plays in comparison to you. In gymnastics yes you are competing to have a higher score than the other gymnasts, but you are effectively competing against an ideal as you can't actually do anything to impact their score (the Tonya Harding approach not withstanding). If you screw up, and you will, you still have to be mentally tough enough to go back out and do it again. Your coach's job is to help you get there and for most people human contact is reassuring. I say this as somebody who actually dislikes human contact.

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Response to mythology (Reply #7)

Fri Aug 5, 2016, 12:05 AM

8. Good and fair point

That is why prefaced my comment by saying I don't pay attention except for every 4 years.

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Response to davidn3600 (Original post)

Thu Aug 4, 2016, 11:37 PM

6. Depressing story

Shameful that this continues to go on and get covered up.

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