Florida Sen. Bill Nelson co-authors measure requiring independent investigations
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bill today giving an independent entity the power to investigate alleged incidents of sexual abuse against aspiring Olympic athletes.
The measure, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and John Thune (R-SD), comes in response to recent reports of widespread sexual abuse in USA Gymnastics, USA Taekwondo and other national sports governing bodies.
“We must do everything we can to protect our aspiring Olympic athletes from heinous acts of abuse and prevent attempts to sweep such crimes under the rug,” said Nelson, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees sports-related issues.
Among other things, the measure would give the newly created U.S. Center for Safe Sport the power to independently investigate allegations of sexual abuse against athletes governed by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and other national sports governing bodies. The center would also be required to develop policies that the USOC and the governing bodies must use to prevent the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of amateur athletes, including reporting requirements when child abuse is alleged or suspected.
The bill now heads to the Senate floor for consideration. Click here for the text of the legislation.