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Blumenthal Calls For USA Gymnastics To Properly Handle Sexual Abuse Claims

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern, File

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — In the wake of an investigative report by the Indianapolis Star into sexual abuse claims, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has joined a call in urging USA Gymnastics to ensure allegations are reported to appropriate authorities.

The report from the Star , released just as the Summer Olympics in Rio are putting a spotlight into the world of gymnastics. Click here to read the investigative story titled: A blind eye to sex abuse: How USA Gymnastics failed to report cases; The Prominent Olympic Organization Failed to Alert Authorities To Many Allegations of Sexual Abuse By Coaches."

Blumenthal joined fellow U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) in urging USA Gymnastics to ensure allegations of sexual abuse are reported to appropriate authorities and to detail its policies to handle reports of abuse by coaches and other personnel.

“We urge you immediately to take specific actions to ensure that allegations of sexual abuse are promptly reported to appropriate authorities and law enforcement, so that children are protected" said a letter form the senators. "Research indicates that most people who experience sexual abuse in childhood do not disclose their abuse until adulthood, if at all, and when disclosure does occur in childhood, significant delays are common.”

The letter was sent to Steve Penny, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics in Indianapolis.

"Child sex abuse is a heinous crime and allegations must be taken seriously and handled appropriately," the letter said.

USA Gymnastics has more than 90,000 member athletes and 3,000 member gymnasiums.

"The report details failures by USA Gymnastics to alert authorities of sex abuse allegations against several coaches, despite being notified of serious allegations on numerous occasions," the letter said. "Some allegations were allowed to linger for years before any action was taken, leaving young victims in the supervision of sexual predators."

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