Over 368 gymnasts claim they were sexually abused by adults working in gymnastics across the U.S., according to an Indy Star investigation. The investigation, which was dated from 20 years ago, showed hundreds of police files and court cases tying together youth gymnastics and the sexual exploitation of children by those in leadership positions, including coaches and gym owners–which is absolutely chilling.
The Star reported back in August that officials at USA Gymnastics failed to alert police to sexual abuse allegations that took place, and instead chose to hide complaints–which certainly makes this whole ordeal so much worse.
The investigation includes incidents where sexually abusive coaches were allowed to move from gym to gym around the country. That fact in itself makes my blood boil–turning a blind eye to horrible behavior is inexcusable, especially when it involves kids (not that it’s ever OK when it involves adults either, but kids don’t typically have the means to stand up for themselves).
USA gymnastics told the Star in a statement recently:
“Nothing is more important to USA Gymnastics, the Board of Directors and CEO Steve Penny than protecting athletes, which requires sustained vigilance by everyone — coaches, athletes, parents, administrators and officials. We are saddened when any athlete has been harmed in the course of his or her gymnastics career.”
Seems too little, too late for me, but don’t forget to read the full investigation here.