In the ongoing legal cases against Larry Nassar, former sports physician for the U.S. gymnastics team who was served with more than 150 lawsuits for sexual crimes he committed, another gymnast has come forward with a lawsuit. Gold medal Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman filed a lawsuit in California state court earlier this month alleging USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee failed to protect her and other athletes from Nassar’s misconduct.
The lawsuit claims that the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics looked the other way when Nassar sexually harassed and abused Raisman on dozens of occasions under the guise of medical treatment. Raisman says that the organizations shielded Nassar from the investigations and allegations that surrounded Nassar’s history and did not take the proper actions to keep the gymnasts safe.
According to the lawsuit, the negligent actions taken by both organizations led to severe emotional distress and psychological injury, as well as a loss of economic opportunities. The abuse started in 2009 when Raisman was a member of USA Gymnastics’ junior national team, taking place on the properties of both organizations as well as while traveling to competitions.
The complaint brings forward 12 different claims including negligence, unfair business practices, sexual harassment, and sexual battery. In total, more than 150 women, including Raisman, presented victim impact statements at Nassar’s sentencing hearing earlier this year. Nassar received sentences of 40 to 125 years and 40 to 175 years in prison.
Nassar’s criminal sentences are separate from the lawsuits that gymnasts are currently filing against organizations like USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee. These lawsuits are civil suits targeting the professional organizations, educational institutions, and athletic centers that have a legal responsibility to protect young athletes from sexual abuse and misconduct from employees.
Lawsuits like these are part of the rights granted by Title IX, an amendment that protects students, athletes, and children from sexual misconduct crimes. Following Title IX, athletic organization, college, and school employees must report all acts of sexual harassment and violence as well as make every effort possible to stop these crimes from occurring after any reports are filed. When an institution fails to make these efforts, they can be sued in addition to any criminal charges in place.
If you’d like to learn more about Title IX lawsuits and how they can potentially help institutions keep our children and young athletes safe or have a potential claim to file, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Thomas Law Offices.