Stars tes­tify about sex-abuse scan­dal

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Stephen Whyno

washington» Re­tired star gym­nasts tes­ti­fied be­fore Congress on Tuesday that they were sex­u­ally abused by a for­mer USA Gym­nas­tics doc­tor and rec­om­mended a bill that re­quires tougher sex-abuse re­port­ing for Olympic sports.

Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympic bronze medal­ist, and three-time na­tional cham­pion rhyth­mic gym­nast Jessica Howard re­counted their ex­pe­ri­ences be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee.

They told the com­mit­tee of their abuses by Dr. Larry Nas­sar, who is in jail with­out bond in Michi­gan and also faces fed­eral child pornog­ra­phy charges.

“USA Gym­nas­tics failed its most ba­sic re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect the ath­letes un­der its care,” Dantzscher said through tears.

Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein of Cal­i­for­nia is cospon­sor­ing a bill that re­quires or­ga­ni­za­tions over­see­ing Olympic sports to im­me­di­ately re­port sex-abuse al­le­ga­tions to law en­force­ment or child-wel­fare au­thor­i­ties.

The bill and pro­posed changes to the Ted Stevens Olympic and Ama­teur Sports Act come in the aftermath of the sex abuse scan­dal that led to the res­ig­na­tion of USA Gym­nas­tics Pres­i­dent Steve Penny.

“They failed to take ac­tion against coaches, train­ers and other adults who abused chil­dren,” Dantzscher said. “And they al­lowed Dr. Nas­sar to abuse young women and girls for more than 20 years.”

Penny is a co-de­fen­dant in a civil law­suit filed by Dantzscher, who has ac­cused Nas­sar of sex­ual abuse.

Do­minique Mo­ceanu, a 1996 gold medal­ist, de­scribed a “cul­ture of fear, in­tim­i­da­tion and hu­mil­i­a­tion, es­tab­lished by Bela and Marta Karolyi.” The leg­endary coaches are named in Dantzscher’s civil law­suit for phys­i­cal abuse.

U.S. Olympic Com­mit­tee of­fi­cial Rick Adams and Stafford County (Va.) Com­mon­wealth’s At­tor­ney Eric Olsen also tes­ti­fied. Sen. Chuck Grass­ley of Iowa, the com­mit­tee chair­man, crit­i­cized USA Gym­nas­tics for de­clin­ing to tes­tify.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.