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Abuse Allegations and Criminal Charges in Gymnastics Organizations

Abuse Allegations and Criminal Charges in Gymnastics Organizations

Young gymnasts all over the country have faced a lot more damage than the broken bones and bruises of their sport. 

Sexual abuse of gymnasts has led to criminal charges and numerous lawsuits. The highest profile has been the case of Larry Nassar, a national team doctor who allegedly abused hundreds of girls under the guise of providing medical care. In addition to criminal charges against Nassar, hundreds of lawsuits were filed against the organizations entrusted with keeping the athletes safe, including USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Olympians Simone Biles and Aly Raisman are among the Olympic stars who say they were abused by Nassar.

But the sport’s problems are broader than one man. An Indianapolis Star USA Today investigation in 2016 found 368 gymnasts who had made claims of abuse. The report details accusations of children as young as 6 being photographed nude and other girls having coaches stick their fingers inside the athlete’s leotard.

In September, coach Terry Gray was indicted on dozens of charges of sexual improprieties, including five counts of sexual abuse and numerous counts of lewdness with a minor under 14, according to the Review-Journal in Las Vegas, where he was a coach from 2009-2015.

The ability of victims to pursue civil lawsuits against USA Gymnastics will be determined by a ruling on whether the organization can file bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. USA Gymnastics filed for protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. But a committee of abuse survivors has fought the idea and is pressing for more transparency about how Nassar abused so many girls for so many years. That suit is separate from the $500 million settlement for victims made by Michigan State University, which employed Nassar.

Nassar pled guilty to criminal charges and will spend the rest of his life in prison. A new Netflix documentary, “Athlete A” recounts the broader picture of sexual abuse in the sport and paints a picture of USA Gymnastics as not routinely alerting the proper authorities about allegations of abuse

In October, President Trump signed into law legislation giving Olympic athletes more protection and more say in their sports. The Empowering Olympic, Paralympic and Amateur Athletes Act also allows Congress to step in if governing officials don’t follow through with reforms. 

Some sexual predators are drawn into coaching the sport because of the access to young girls, said Rich Newsome of Newsome Melton.

“A supervisor cannot have sex with a young employee because he’s in a position of authority. You mix that with these are minors and it’s so wrong,” said Newsome.

If you have questions about this topic or need assistance filing a sexual abuse claim, Newsome Melton can help. Contact us at 1-888-380-2809.

Sexual Assault Allegations in Massage Therapy Industry

Sexual Assault Allegations in Massage Therapy Industry

Dark room, closed door, lack of clothing and a stranger. It’s a recipe for vulnerability otherwise known as a massage. Across the country, that recipe has produced bitter results for women sexually assaulted by massage therapists. In Arizona, two women accused Aaron Frank Orrico of sexually assaulting them in a Sedona spa and won a […]

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Sexual Assault Allegations in Cheerleading

Sexual Assault Allegations in Cheerleading

Behind the hair bows and pom-poms, cheerleading has at times provided a safe harbor for sexual molesters. A 55-year-old Los Angeles cheer coach, Michael Edmond, was charged last year with sexually abusing five girls as young as 9 years old. San Antonio cheerleading and gymnastics coach Robert Thomas Kortara, 33, was accused of sexually assaulting a […]

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Ride-Sharing Services and Sexual Assault Claims: Who Is Responsible?

Ride-Sharing Services and Sexual Assault Claims: Who Is Responsible?

When a person hops into an Uber, how much responsibility does the company have to keep them safe from sexual assault? That’s what courts are wrestling with as ride sharing becomes more popular. Under the common carrier doctrine, transportation companies are responsible for the safe passage of their riders. But Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like […]

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Consumer Safety Concerns Amidst Rising Online Sales

Consumer Safety Concerns Amidst Rising Online Sales

As the pandemic nudges more shopping into the online world, the legal questions of how ecommerce is treated become even more important. The novel coronavirus caused a $107 billion increase in online shopping sales so far this year, according to Adobe Analytics. Between August 2019 and August 2020, ecommerce sales jumped 42 percent in the […]

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Dangers of Defective Consumer Goods

Dangers of Defective Consumer Goods

Consumer products like tools and appliances are so ubiquitous that when even a small percentage of them fail, they can hurt huge numbers of people. Products liability claims provide a valuable means to hold the companies which design, manufacture, and sell defective consumer goods accountable. But there are obstacles to pursuing these claims, including: creative […]

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Trading Safety for Convenience: Keyless Ignitions & Carbon Monoxide

Trading Safety for Convenience: Keyless Ignitions & Carbon Monoxide

Keyless ignition systems may be a simple way to turn on a car, but their simplicity can be deadly. Over the years, they have led to multiple injuries and deaths, resulting in an increased number of product liability lawsuits.   Once a key fob sends a wireless code to the car to turn on, it doesn’t […]

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: The Silent Killer

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: The Silent Killer

Odorless and colorless, carbon monoxide can silently seep into houses, offices and apartment buildings and wreak damage slowly or suddenly. Either way, victims are left with brain damage or even killed.

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Meet Heather Greenberg, 2019 Newsome | Melton Community Service Scholarship Recipient

Meet Heather Greenberg, 2019 Newsome | Melton Community Service Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations to Heather Greenberg, 20, of Stratford, Wis., recipient of the 2019 Community Service Scholarship. Heather, a nursing student at Viterbo University in Lacrosse, Wisc., wrote a moving essay about her life journey in community service. On July 4, 2008, Heather’s younger sister, Madison, died. Her sister lived only two years and struggled with medical […]

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Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

The sad saga of a human trafficking victim often begins with running away from a foster home, only to then fall into the clutches of an abuser who gets her hooked on drugs, and ending up in a hotel room forced to have sex with 20 men a day. But attorneys at Newsome Melton and […]

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