DOJ investigating sexual abuse in US Olympic organizations: report

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly conducting several investigations into U.S. Olympic sports organizations over potential sexual abuse and financial misconduct.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the department’s money-laundering and child-exploitation units and the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., sent grand jury subpoenas to entities including the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and its U.S. Center for SafeSport, which handles abuse reports.

{mosads}Prosecutors as well as investigators from the Internal Revenue Service have spoken with possible witnesses about alleged misconduct in entities including USA Gymnastics and USA Taekwondo, the newspaper reported.

The investigation appears to be examining “failures in the Olympic system, writ large, to respond to signs of widespread child abuse,” one source told the Journal.

Other people familiar with the matter told the paper that investigators are looking into whether power dynamics in the Olympic system could be exploitative.

The handling of abuse cases and possible unethical conduct by former executives of USA Gymnastics, USA Taekwondo and other sports governing bodies are being looked into, two people told the Journal. 

“Every instance related to potential or actual abuse of athletes warrants thorough investigation,” USOPC spokesman Mark Jones told the newspaper. “We have cooperated with all government inquiries and will continue to do so.”

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department and the U.S. Olympic Committee for comment. 

USA Taekwondo said in a statement shared with The Hill, “While we are limited in what we can say while legal proceedings move forward, we want to state clearly that above all else, our top priority at USA Taekwondo is the safety of our athletes.”

“USATKD believes that education for parents, athletes, trainers and coaches is the key to providing a safe and positive experience for everyone involved in competitive sports. We believe that abusive or predatory behavior has no place in our sport. We are fully committed to doing everything we can to ensure that our athletes are protected, valued, and supported,” the statement added.

The Journal reported that the DOJ’s public integrity unit is separately also looking into the FBI’s handling of reports of former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse in 2015 and 2016. 

“USA Gymnastics is striving to become an athlete-centric organization that keeps athlete safety and well-being at the forefront of everything it does,” USA Gymnastics told The Hill in a statement. “USA Gymnastics has cooperated fully with any governmental investigation and will continue to do so in the future.”

Allegations of abuse in the Olympics have come to light in recent years, including in its gymnastics and taekwondo organizations. Nassar was convicted in 2017 of assaulting dozens of athletes.


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