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USA Gymnastics believes that even one instance of child abuse, whether at a school, church or gym, is one too many. Athlete safety and well-being must not be taken for granted and requires as much diligence and attention as the training required for a perfect routine.
USA Gymnastics recognizes its role in protecting our athletes and understands that this requires proper reporting and a comprehensive plan of action. As many youth-serving organizations realize, this can be a significant challenge.
A timeline of our policy advancements is available, and USA Gymnastics has been publishing a list of banned members since 1990.
Related: 368 Ex-Gymnasts: Sexual Exploitation Spans Decades
USA Gymnastics' current policy is that if anyone suspects sexual abuse, the organization encourages those involved to contact law enforcement and/or contacts law enforcement directly. This includes multiple instances when USA Gymnastics has done so.
That said, the work is ongoing, and most recently, we enlisted former federal prosecutor Deborah Daniels to independently review our policies and make recommendations. USA Gymnastics is a membership-based organization comprised of independent clubs, athletes and professional members. We believe that the results of the Daniels review will focus on increased accountability, compliance and transparency.
USA Gymnastics has played an active role in the creation of the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, an independent agency designed to prevent sexual abuse in sport with a model similar to the one dedicated to eliminating performance-enhancing substances. Once in place, the center will provide independent investigations and adjudication, with the national governing bodies focused on compliance, prevention, reporting and education.
USA Gymnastics is filled with trustworthy people who go to work every day to help young people fulfill their potential in a safe and fun environment. We are determined to raise the standards throughout the entire sport and are committed to the effort that lies ahead to further protect our young people.
Paul Parilla is chairman of the board of directors, and Steve Penny is president, of USA Gymnastics.
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