On Thursday, May 11, the Senate Judiciary passed the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act, S 534.  The legislation, endorsed by CWLA, would require mandated reporting of child abuse by amateur athletic governing bodies.  The legislation is an outgrowth of reports of sexual abuse of some past members of the USA Olympic Gymnastics teams. The legislation which has broad bipartisan support is sponsored by the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

In addition to requiring immediate reporting of child and sex-abuse allegations, the bill would amend the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act, which governs U.S. Olympic sport governing bodies, to make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse and mandate oversight of member gymnasiums to ensure strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented. Under the legislation, USA Gymnastics would have to implement and enforce policies to ensure coaches and personnel are trained in sexual abuse prevention.

After passage of the bill Senator Feinstein said, “Sexual abuse stays with victims their entire lives. U.S. Olympic governing bodies, coaches, and personnel have an obligation to do all they can to protect young athletes.  All allegations of sex abuse must be promptly reported to local or federal law enforcement. Otherwise, they may not be treated with the seriousness that’s required.”

She went on to thank the Chair, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) for moving the bill out of the Judiciary Committee and said that they would be working to get the bill approved by the full Senate.