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The U.S. Center for SafeSport has suspended a taekwondo coach who helped her husband evade a lifetime ban for sexual misconduct by taking formal ownership of their gym and representing their club at meets sanctioned by USA Taekwondo.
USA TODAY reported last week that Gerald Murphy continued coaching at the same gym in Tallahassee, Florida, even after USA Taekwondo banned him in early 2014. He did that with the help of Gale Murphy, his wife and another coach at the school.
The center issued an interim suspension for her on Monday for allegations of misconduct.
In a statement, SafeSport spokesman Dan Hill said, "We don't comment on specific matters but we do take the SafeSport Code seriously. Sport needs a radical culture shift to make athlete well-being its centerpiece; it won't happen until every person, from home to gym, owns their role and champions respect."
Gale Murphy did not immediately return a voicemail from USA TODAY early Monday afternoon.
Gerald Murphy, 64, was convicted in Florida in 1989 of lewd and lascivious assault of a child after being found in bed with a 14-year-old who babysat his children. Murphy spent 18 months in prison after failing to meet the conditions of his sentencing.
USA Taekwondo learned of Murphy's prior conviction in 2014 from Ronda Sweet, a former USA Taekwondo board chairwoman. The national governing body banned Murphy on April 3, 2014.
A USA TODAY investigation found Murphy has been coaching at the same gym since he was banned.
"Do I coach at the school? Yeah, I am the teacher and owner," Murphy told a USA TODAY reporter in August.
Four days after Murphy was banned, Gale Murphy incorporated the Dragon System Institute of Martial Arts. Her name appears on its state incorporation paperwork.
In August, Gerald Murphy showed a USA TODAY reporter three certificates Gale Murphy received for completing SafeSport training in March. His wife and son are USA Taekwondo members, Murphy said, and coach the school's athletes at events sanctioned by national governing bodies.
The club was still listed as a member on USA Taekwondo's website as of Nov.21. It's not clear in whose name the club was registered with the governing body.
After USA TODAY sent the organization detailed questions about Murphy, the club was removed from the governing body's club locator app.
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