GOP lawmaker calls on US Olympic Committee chief to resign
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A GOP lawmaker on Wednesday called for the acting chief of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to resign during a heated hearing about sexual abuse of athletes.

“You’re not fit to serve in that position,” Rep. Buddy CarterEarl (Buddy) Leroy CarterFor George and Barbara Bush, White House staff became family Congress must protect eye care patients from frightful prescriptions Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' MORE (R-Ga.) told USOC acting CEO Susanne Lyons during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Carter pressed Lyons on an email she wrote in March 2014, first reported on by The Washington Post, that indicated she was aware of sexual abuse allegations against a USA Taekwondo coach. Lyons was a USOC board member at the time.

“This sounds like the same old BS,” Lyons wrote to three USOC officials in 2014, forwarding a former USA Taekwondo’s ethics complaint. “Allowing a potential sexual predator to continue to coach without having an appropriate investigation and conclusion is unacceptable.” 

Carter and fellow lawmakers grilled Lyons and other athletic officials about why they had not done more to address sexual abuse of U.S. athletes.

Rep. Gregg HarperGregory (Gregg) Livingston HarperCongress sends bill overhauling sexual harassment policy to Trump's desk Dems cry foul in undecided N.C. race Mississippi New Members 2019 MORE (R-Miss.) asked Lyons if the USOC believes it is "responsible" for the safety of athletes.

She replied "yes."

“And if we have had a failing, it is that we have not adequately exercised our authority,” Lyons added.  

Also testifying at the hearing was the CEO of USA Gymnastics, Kerry Perry, speaking publicly for the first time since she took over that position six months ago.

She began by apologizing for the “horrific acts of Larry Nassar.” 

“Let there be no mistake,” Perry said. “Those days are over.” 

Nassar, an ex-USA Gymnastics doctor, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting gymnasts and was sentenced to as many as 175 years in prison last year.

At one point during the hearing, Rep. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Push for cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill | Court lets Dems defend ObamaCare | Flu season not as severe as last year, CDC says Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word Democrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill MORE (D-Mich.) choked up, saying she was "bothered" by what she saw as a lack of urgency to address the problem.

“What are we doing to protect these young people right now so this never happens again?” she asked. 

Other witnesses at the hearing included the president of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the body in charge of investigating and resolving allegations of sexual abuse; the executive director of USA Taekwondo; the president and CEO of USA Swimming; and the CEO of USA Volleyball. 

Athletes from all of these Olympic sports have gone public with allegations of sexual abuse.

Earlier this week, an ex-Olympic swimmer filed a lawsuit against USA Swimming, alleging top organization officials enabled the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her longtime coach. 

For most of the hearing, the witnesses discussed how they are improving systems to report such crimes and hold individuals accountable.

At this time last year, SafeSport was receiving about 20 to 30 sexual abuse reports per month. Now, there are about 20 to 30 reports per week, Shellie Pfohl, president and CEO of SafeSport, told lawmakers.

Pfohl said she predicts the number of reports will double this year from last year.

“Between the 'Me Too' movement and the Nassar trial, we really saw an uptick,” Pfohl said. 

Several lawmakers said they hope SafeSport, which has a $4.6 million budget, will receive more funding to accommodate the increase in reporting. Right now, they have five full-time investigators and seven external contract investigators. 

“Is that sufficient?” Rep. Diane DeGette (D-Colo.) asked.

“No,” Pfohl said.