There are evil people all over the world and in every walk of life. However, there is nothing more nefarious than evil individuals who prey on children.
That’s the scenario that USA Gymnastics has been woefully inept at preventing for decades, according to a recent report funded by the USA Gymnastics. The investigation found that the number of athletes victimized is “far greater” than the hundreds previously reported and that the organization needs a “complete culture change” in order to properly protect young people from predatory adults who have obtained access to them under the guise of tutelage, mentorship and counseling.
Is there no greater camouflage for the wicked than appearing to come in the name of something good?
Despite the report’s author, ex-prosecutor Deborah Daniels, giving very high estimates for past abuse, she told reporters that she cannot give an exact number because USA Gymnastic’s governing body didn’t ask her to look into past wrongdoing but rather their current abilities and how derelict and insufficient protections for the kids under their watch could possibly translate into future abuse cases.
“This was a forward-looking report and not a rear-view mirror report,” Daniels said after the USA Gymnastics board of directors accepted her recommendations on how to keep kids safe.
These young people, mostly pre-pubescent girls, are isolated away from their families and placed around individuals who haven’t passed any background checks or certifications. That’s only the very tip of an ugly iceberg.
“I think there’s probably fault throughout the organization,” Paul Parilla, chairman of the USA Gymnastics board of directors, told NBC News. “Who can say that we have done everything it’s possible to do to protect athletes?”
USA Gymnastics, which picks the U.S. Olympic teams, picked the former prosecutor to look into its polices amid allegations that it bungled many molestation cases over the years, including accusations that team doctor Larry Nassar molested “scores of girls”.
Despite the damning report, attorney John Manly, who represents many of Nassar’s accusers, feels the report is nothing but a public relations ploy to draw blame away from the organization itself.
“The report calls for a change in culture but those who created the toxic culture remain in charge of the organization,” Manly said.
Dr. Nassar reportedly only garnered a few mentions in the 100-page report. USA Gymnastics also admits it waited five weeks to notify law enforcement after his behavior was flagged.
Among the litany of findings were the organization’s “grievance procedure” to handle reports of abuse. Said procedure required an athlete or their parent to file a written complaint to the very people who could make their dreams of being on the Olympic team come true until as recently as 2013.
In addition, there was no written protocol for how to handle allegations of abuse.
Clubs and members were historically not required to report sexual misconduct or other abuse to USA Gymnastics or law enforcement.
Members suspended for sexual misdeeds were able to get new coaching jobs, in part because USA Gymnastics did not publicize the penalties.
And that’s just the to start.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think these protocols were designed specifically to protect pedophiles.
USA Gymnastics tapped Daniels to examine its policies after it was rocked by allegations in the Indianapolis Star that it had mishandled a raft of molestation cases, including accusations Nassar preyed on scores of girls for years.
John Manly, an attorney who represents many of Nassar’s accusers, denounced the resulting report as a public relations ploy “designed to divert attention from who at USA Gymnastics knew about molestation by Larry Nassar and others and when they knew it.”
Among Daniels’ recommendations: a requirement that any suspected abuse be reported “immediately” to law enforcement, a menu of sanctions for failure to report, penalties aimed at rooting out “grooming” of athletes by potential abusers, and a database of coaches so abuse can be tracked systemwide.
The fact that none of these basic procedures are in place and that it took a recommendation of a special investigator to point them out is beyond ludicrous. Not only are the pedophiles guilty of heinous behavior, but so too are those who allowed this to go on unchecked for years.