INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., April 15, 2008 — Any form of abuse against an athlete is unacceptable.
USA Gymnastics seeks to do everything within its jurisdiction to stop abuse. This jurisdiction does not extend to the employment practices of private gymnastics clubs. USA Gymnastics’ diligence in protecting its athletes creates a record of these actions (a list of terminated members) that invites scrutiny of the sport and the organization’s efforts to protect children who participate in it.
USA Gymnastics continues to work with the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI) and other organizations to develop best practices in this area. NCSI is the background screening agency used by USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee, and its screening covers criminal background, sex offender registry and identity verification. NCSI focuses its efforts, systems and expertise into seven identified risk factors to ensure client organizations are meeting and exceeding due diligence.
Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics, explains, “The vast majority of USA Gymnastics professional members are good, law-abiding people who care deeply about serving young athletes. As a parent with children in gymnastics, I have full faith in the values of our professional community to continue addressing this concern and providing the safest environment for young people. Gymnastics helps teach young people great lifelong skills, including teamwork, fitness, self-discipline, and other important values which sustain a healthy and successful approach to life.”
Background for above statement
E:60 is a news show on espn that has been on hiatus and returned to the air on April 15. That show included a segment called “Violated,” which focuses on several coaches either accused or convicted of sexually misconduct with gymnasts. The segment may be viewed on espn.com.