Dozens of women and girls have sued the Colorado Springs-based U.S. Olympic Committee.
They claim the organization failed to prevent sexual assault and abuse at the hands of USA Gymnastics coaches and associates, including former team doctor Larry Nassar.
The suit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Colorado, accuses the USOC of gross negligence, fraud, and other violations:
"The USOC, its Officers and Directors and their NGBs (National Governing Bodies) have known for decades that sexual predators and pedophiles are attracted to the occupation of coaching young athletes yet failed to take effective action to detect and eliminate from Olympic sports those adults who posed an unreasonable risk of harm to the young athletes they were duty bound to protect."
In addition to confronting the overall organization, former CEO Scott Blackmun, several former USOC officers and 19 current and former board members are named. Unspecified compensatory and punitive damages are sought.
Nassar was sentenced to 60 years for child pornography and to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment when he worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
The USOC has tried to remove itself from previous lawsuits concerning Nassar; the organization argues plaintiffs have no legal grounds to sue because Nassar was never their direct employee. The committee also disputes the charge that Nassar’s actions were foreseeable. In regards to this latest filing, a representative for the organization said it does not comment on pending litigation.
The complaint describes in detail the alleged abuse plaintiffs were subject to by Nassar. However, Kim Dougherty, a lawyer who represents the 51 plaintiffs in the suit, said the case is much broader than previous lawsuits aimed at the Nassar scandal. It also names multiple former USA Gymnastics coaches accused of assault.
“This is really, truly, focusing on the institutional failures that allowed these pedophiles and perpetrators to continue to have access and abuse minor athletes,” Dougherty said.
She added the suit contains evidence of abuse dating back to the 1990s that showed not only inaction, but “affirmative concealment” by the USOC.
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