There is no new legislation to report sexual abuse in the Olympic movement.
President trump is expected to sign legislation that would not criminalize sexual abuse in Olympic sports. It was a response to one of the biggest sex scandals in us sports history.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
President trump is expected to sign legislation this week, failing to report that sexual assault in Olympic sports is a crime. This is a result of the larry nasar scandal. He was a doctor who abused hundreds of young athletes. Alexandra starr reports.
ALEXANDRA STARR: senator Diane finstein met with the nine victims of larry nasar last year. They made an impression.
Diane feinstein: I’ve never seen anything like that – the expression I saw that day.
STARR: some of them are former Olympic gymnasts. Others attended Michigan state university’s softball team. Nasar works for the university and the American gymnastics team. When the allegations surfaced, both groups moved slowly.
FEINSTEIN: that’s not going to happen.
Starr: so the senator launched a bill to protect young people from sexual abuse by the end of last month. Many children who train at sports clubs do not cover the same protective measures as most student athletes. Now, under the law, the failure to report alleged sexual assaults on clubs linked to the Olympic movement is a federal crime.
FEINSTEIN: it really makes the country alert to amateur sports, which is to report sexual abuse within 24 hours.
STARR: the new law authorizes independent entities to investigate sexual abuse in the Olympic movement. It was created by the U.S. Olympic committee last year. It is known as America’s SafeSport (ph), and Shellie Pfohl is its President and chief executive.
SHELLIE PFOHL: our desire is to really promote the first culture of athletes’ well-being.
STARR: Pfohl says education is a big problem. That’s why the center offers online training.
Unknown narrator: training involves several themes related to abuse and misconduct.
STARR: it’s a case of investigative misconduct. Pfohl says there are now more than 100 cases under review. This does not include Dr Nassar, who was already under investigation when he opened the centre. Currently, the vast majority of SafeSport’s budget comes from the U.S. Olympic committee and sports administration, such as U.S. gymnastics and American swimming. Pfohl wants to change.
PFOHL: we don’t want all our money coming from a source, because it limits our independence.
Stahl: although the bill that has just passed is not funded by the government, it does give the center immunity from prosecution for defamation when conducting investigations. Nancy Hogshead-Makar is a gold medalist in the former swimming champion women’s organization. She hopes SafeSport will become a difficult regulator.
STARR: the bill will not only protect Olympic athletes. About eight million children are under the aegis of the U.S. Olympic committee. For example, many local football clubs are members of the American football team. These clubs will be covered by legislation.
Hogshead-makar: it does affect a lot of people. Parents and volunteers, officials, coaches and athletes – everyone will be a mandatory journalist.
STARR: this means that if any one of them suspects abuse of power without reporting, they may be sentenced to one year in prison.
For NPR news, I’m Alexandra Starr.
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