US House approves legislation meant to protect young athletes from abuse

US House approves legislation meant to protect young athletes from abuse

The US House of Representatives [official website] approved legislation [text] on Monday meant to protect young amateur athletes from sexual abuse.

The vote to pass the bill was 406-3.

The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act [text, PDF] requires employees or volunteers of the US Olympic Committee to report allegations of abuse to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours, as well as implement policies to prevent abuse; extends the statute of limitations to 10 years after a victim realizes he or she was abused; and prohibits minors from being alone with an adult other than their parent or guardian. The act also provides the type of damages victims can seek in civil suits when abused.

The passage of the bill stems from the persistent problem of sexual abuse in the Olympic and amateur sports. In January, after hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse, Dr. Larry Nassar, a team physician for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, was sentenced [JURIST op-ed] to 60 years in prison on federal charges and up to 175 years on state charges.