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Senate investigation finds U.S. Olympic Committee "knowingly concealed" Nassar abuse

Sens. Jerry Moran (left) and Richard Blumenthal. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Sens. Jerry Moran (left) and Richard Blumenthal. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

An 18-month Senate investigation has found that the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics "knowingly concealed" the sexual abuse of gymnasts by a team doctor, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: As a result of the investigation, a bipartisan bill known as the Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2019 will be introduced today by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

If passed, the bill would...

  • Create accountability. The USOPC and the national governing bodies of Olympics-related sports would be held to "more stringent legal accountability for failing to protect athletes."
  • Establish procedures. The USOPC would be required to provide more oversight of governing bodies, while also establishing clear procedures to report abuse.
  • Increase congressional oversight. The bill gives Congress authority to dissolve the board of the USOPC and decertify national governing bodies should they fail to protect athletes.
  • Fund nonprofit work. The USOPC currently pays $3.1 million per year to SafeSport, a nonprofit that investigates sexual misconduct in Olympic sports. This bill would require them to pay $20 million annually, instead.

The big picture: Blumenthal called the bill a "moment of reckoning" and believes it demonstrates Congress' willingness to create a "seismic cultural shift" in the protection of athletes from abuse, per NYT.

Go deeper: The overwhelming case against Larry Nassar