Investigation prompts USA Gymnastics to make changes

(WFLA) — USA Gymnastics, the national governing body of the sport is now making changes to better protect its athletes.

This is in response to allegations of potential sexual abuse of hundreds of gymnasts.

The results of an internal investigation released today call for a “complete cultural change” within the USA Gymnastics organization.

It’s something that mothers like Michele Edmonson are delighted to hear. Her daughter, Natalia, has been competing for years.

“I’m glad USA Gymnastics has really stepped up and is taking this seriously,” Edmonson said.

“It was surprising to me that there was no requirement that members report abuse,” said Deborah Daniels, who led the investigation.

Some of the failures her report highlights include no written protocol for how to handle allegations of abuse, no requirement to report them to law enforcement and coaches suspended for abuse being able to get new jobs.

All this as national team physician, Larry Nassar, is accused of preying on scores of girls under the guise of medical treatment.

Michigan Attorney General commented on Nassar Tuesday

“This guy is despicable, he is a monster,” he said.

So now new guidelines are being put in place by USA Gymnastics to better protect children. That’s comforting news for mothers like Michele but she says parents still need to communicate with their kids.

“When they’re little, they may not know what is the right feeling or the wrong feeling. So you have to open a dialogue very, very early with kids,” she said.

Some of the dozens of changes agreed to by USA Gymnastics include a requirement by members to report any suspected sexual misconduct to not just local law enforcement but also the U.S. Center for Safe Sport. Plus, any adult kicked out of a club will be tracked in a database to make sure he or she doesn’t endanger athletes in other clubs.

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