51 women sue USOC for failing to stop Nassar abuse

By EDDIE PELLS – Associated Press – Friday, March 15, 2019

DENVER (AP) – Fifty-one women are suing the , its board members and a number of former high-ranking officials for failing to prevent their abuse at the hands of imprisoned sports doctor .

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Denver, details abuse dating to the late 1990s. One of the victims was 8 years old.

Most contend that because they were young and sexually inexperienced, they were not aware they were being abused at the time. Some became aware when other victims began telling their stories at ’s 2018 sentencing hearing for child pornography and sex abuse. Others acted after the release of a report in December that detailed the ’s slow response to sex-abuse cases.

The lawsuit alleges the violated Title IX and the constitution by not acting promptly and more forcefully.

The said the federation would have no comment on pending litigation. The governing body has tried to remove itself as a defendant in a number of other similar lawsuits, contending it should not be held legally responsible for ’s crimes. Those lawsuits include USA Gymnastics as defendants, but this one singles out the , which is based in Colorado Springs.

The lawsuit outlines abuse by six other coaches, and the ’s slow response to it, though most plaintiffs say they were abused by .

Many of the plaintiffs’ claims in this lawsuit are similar to those of other victims: Often their parents were present during the examinations but positioned himself in a way that they could not see what was happening.

One plaintiff described gasping and looking over at her mother when touched her inappropriately, and responded by saying “Sorry, cold hands.”

In addition to compensation, the plaintiffs are asking for institutional reform at the . Virtually all the top executives – including the chairman, CEO and sports performance director – have left voluntarily or been fired since ’s sentencing in January 2018.

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