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tv   Senate Commerce Subcommittee Hearing on Sexual Abuse of Athletes  CSPAN  October 11, 2018 3:45pm-5:26pm EDT

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words," gina loudoun, fox news guest analyst and member of the trump 2020 campaign advisory board on her book "mad politics," keeping your sanity in a world gone crazy. she's interviewed. >> is president donald trump crazy? >> crazy like a fox. >> think the narcissism is spectrum and i do believe most of us, i'm not meaning you, you may be the great exception and most of us that put ourselves in the public eye have an unusual sense of confidence. if you want to call it narcissism? are there dangerous forms of narcissism? absolutely. i don't think our president fits into that category at all. >> watch "after words" sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's book tv.
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>> up next, a hearing on preventing sexual abuse of students and olympic athletes. officials from usa weight lifting and u.s. figure skating, usa swimming and usa bobsled testify before the senate commerce subcommittee consumer protection. our subcommittee will come to order. thank you to my colleagues for joining us. i know we'll have others who will later. i have two apologies to express at the moment. one is that we're a few minutes late in starting and i apologize for that. the second is that my opening statement is longer than usual and but i think it's useful for us to put a bit of a story behind how we got to the point we are today. so i'll begin with my opening statement and we'll recognize the ranking member and we'll
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turn to our witnesses. >> the subcommittee which exercises jurisdiction over the olympic committee ensures the health and safety of all american athletes and today marks our fourth hearing on our ongoing investigation. in january, this subcommittee launched an investigation to examine cultural and systemic issues regarding abuse in the olympics brought on by horrific revelations that former usa gymnastic team dr. larry nassar sexually abused and assaulted hundreds of athletes over a span of two decades, well after numerous survivors alerted authorities about his actions. we are proud of the courage and bravery demonstrated by the many current and former athletes we've listened to and spoken with over the past ten months as they've shared their stories this committee. the subcommittee's investigation has expanded to include all national governing bodies which
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govern each of the olympic sports and the roles in providing guidance and oversight to better protect athletes. our conversation with leersd of these organizations have focused on reforms that were part of the recently enacted such victims and how each of their organizations have implemented these important protections. i'm grateful for the leadership demonstrated by commerce committee chairman thune and senator feinstein during our work to pass this bipartisan law. through this, we have provided tools to help protect amateur athletes and this committee will continue our bipartisan effort to bolster this work. i speak for the entire subcommittee when i say that the brave actions and testimonies of our young athletes have inspired and motivated us. this committee is committed to making positive change for these and all athletes and the survivors we have been working with over the past several months are truly drivers of this
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much-needed, cultural change program. i apologize i was unable to attend the event with survivors of a number of sports sharing their stories and ideas for improvement. there are a number of those survivors of those hearings today and i join senator blumenthal in asking that you please stand and be recognized. >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> we are honored and pleased by your presence. since number yating our bipartisan investigation, and i appreciate the working relationship that senator blumenthal and i have, this subcommittee has held three hearings in which members of the committee and the american public heard from distinct witness panels on their experiences related to procedural missteps and collective inaction experienced
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within these misled olympic organizations. additionally, we've heard from current executive leadership within the olympic movement on steps they are taking to address concerns that were identified by the subcommittee and highlighted by numerous taking to address concerns that were identified by the subcommittee and highlighted by numerous survivors. in the first hearing, we heard testimony from four survivor s f abuse across different olympic sports who shared perm experiences about the systemic practices that have safeguarded perpetrators, not victims, perpetrators, inhibited victims from coming forward and prevented victims' reports from coming to light. in the second hearing we brought in leaders from usa gymnastics and michigan state university to provide testimony and answer questions as to how the rampant abuse by dr. nassar was able to perpetuate for as long as it did. scat bla scott blackman and martyr karolyi, team coordinator for
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usa gymnastics were invited to attend. critical topics were covered in that hearing including usa gymnastic gymnastics mishandling critical records. sexual abuse reports against their employee. most important, the complete x lack of cooperation demonstrated by mr. penny in his refusal to answer questions. in the third hearing, we heard from current leaders of the same troubledspects of their system and cull chture changed and howy plan to implement serious removes moving forward. we were joined by interim president of michigan state university, miss suzanne lyons. carrie perry, recently the current president and former ceo of usa gymnastics. i appreciated their updates in the hearing and continued to monitor the work that their organizations are doing to
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empower amateur athletes and prevent abuse. it is my belief that hearing from a variety of national governing bodies of digit siffe sizes, resources and challenges is necessary to make policy recommendations as we move forward. as such, joining us today is mr. phil andrews. the ceo of usa weight lifting. miss annette cammett. mr. tim hinchey iii. president and ceo of usa sw swimming. and mr. darrin steele, ce or o usa bob sped and skeleton. i will conclude my opening remarks by reiterating the bipartisan approach that this subcommittee has taken in its comprehensive investigation. we're in consultation with law enforcement, with survivors and soe advocates. we work closely together to
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identify meaningful reforms in the best interests of athletes and their families. with that, i'll return to the ranking member, senator blumenthal, for his opening statement. senator blumenthal? >> i, too, have an apology. i think at 23:15, we're going t have a vote. we'll have to interrupt at that point. >> true. >> but i'm glad that we're beginning and i want to thank everyone for being here. our witnesses and most especially the courageous and strong survivors who are with us in the hearing room, i am grateful to senator moran for his leadership and our partnership in these hearings and this effort to really achieve systemic change. not just awareness and education, but real change. and i want to join in thanking chairman thune and ranking member nelson for their support in this effort. the survivors are really the heroes hire. they' they're the profiles in courage
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that inspire us to move forward. in the last couple weeks, we've seen many come forward and demonstrate the bravery that it has taken for men and women to brave the nightmare of public shaming and character assassination and threats, potential retaliation, all of the deterrents that cause only a fraction of the survivors to report sexual abuse. so my thanks to them, again, and we will be thanking you repeatedly, i am sure, but let's remember that larry nassar's image in an orange jumpsuit followed years, literally, years
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when his crimes were disregarded or ignored. predators succeed with their crimes because they are skilled at grooming. and they are masters of deception. monsters are often hiding in plain sight. and they are often aided and abetted by people who turn the other way. who fail to report or take action in the face of this criminal action. i have lengthy remarks which i'm going to put in the record, but i want to say that today we're going to hear from leadership at ngbs. some large and others small. went e sinte winter, summer, outdoor, indoor,
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team, and individual. emphasizing that the predatory crimes here go well beyond just gymnastics. that is point number one. present here today are heads for figure skating, weight lifting, bobsled, and skeleton. some ngbs have to answer for their own troubling malfeasance in sexual misconduct cases. others are struggling to find the finances to make the systemic changes needed. the head of usa tae kwon do and the multi-sport organization council, msoc, have agreed to respond to written questioning. i look forward to asking steve mcnally at usa tae kwon do what courage was needed to ban gene lopez, despite the center for safe sport lifting its permanent ban on him because his accusers,
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understandably overwhelmed emotionally by depositions ne needed to be taken at the same time asked that arbitration proceedings be postponed. with respect to msoc, i look forward to examining the partnership between the usoc and a number of community-based organizations. like the ymca, the police athletic league, the boys and girls club. the pipeline for many young athletes into olympic sports. the feedback we received today from witnesses who enable us to craft bipartisan legislation to amend the ted stephens olympic and amateur sports act to better safeguard athletes. much of the work needs to be done to address the gaping failures at the usoc, the center for safe sport, and the ngbs to protect athletes. if these hearings in the events
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of last week when we saw some of those survivors come forward, taught us anything, it's the desperate need for a complete culture shift. a real teaching moment for america on how we view sexual abuse in this country and more than just a cultural shift, more than just a focus of rhetoric, specific action. and a couple ideas that i think have to be on the table, an athlete advocate within the usoc, an inspector general in that same organization, possible revision, even revocation, of tax exemptions, and antitrust exemptions in the event the usoc fails to be responsive. athlete representatives on ngb boards and on the usoc boards. and improved transparency on ngb
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banned list reporting so that there are more thorough background checks to stop predators from relocating and harming new athletes. and finally, making sure that the usoc, itself, is held to a higher standard of accountability. those ideas are suggestions for beginning, not an end, and i hope that we will, in fact, move conduct -- move forward against misconduct to honor the survivors and all who have been affected. their families as well. by this scourge in our olympic sports community and beyond. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator blumenthal, thank you very much for your opening statement, and i'd like to recognize the senator from
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florida, the ranking km ining m the full committee, senator nelson, thank you for your leadership in conjunction with chairman thune, the full committee has given us a great opportunity to pursue these issues. we're grateful for that. and you've been acting participant in this subcommittee. we appreciate your presence. senator nelson. >> well, mr. chairman, i think it's worth noting this is the fourth hearing on this subject between the subcommittee and the full committee, and it bears repeating what has been said. we failed the athletes. the system failed them. responsible adults turned a blind eye and allowed predators to commit unspeakable crimes. and it wasn't just gymnastics, as senator blumenthal has just said, everything from swrim iim tae kwon do, the whole range, suffered terrible abuse at the
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hands of trusted coaches. last january, congress passed the protecting young victims from sexual abuse and safe sport authorization act. it will go a long way toward preventing similar abuse from happening in the future. chairman thune of the full committee and i authored the provisions in the new law that formally thoauthorizes the crean of the u.s. center for safe sport. and that center in the law is tasked with investigating allegations of abuse and developing policies and sa safeguards that youth sports organizations must adopt to protect young athletes. for instance, sports organizations must enforce policies that minimize
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one-on-one interactions between adults and children. and the new law also makes clear the core mission of the u.s. olympics committee is to prioritize the safety and welfare of the youth athletes in olympic sports. and the idea of this law is to try to make a positive difference in the lives of young athletes all across this country. i want to thank the chairman of the full committee, chairman thune, as well as senator feinstein, as well as the leadership of this subcommittee, for working all of us together on this important law. but there's more that can be done. i'm looking forward to the witnesses so that we can keep on
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top of this issue. >> thank you, ranking member. we will now hear from those witnesses. my expectation is that we'll hear from all four witnesses. we'll break, be on the floor in time to cast a 3:15 vote and then return immediately to pursue questions and discussion. i've already introduced the members of the panelists. we'll begin with mr. andrews and take test hoimony across the ta. mr. andrews, you're recognized. >> thank you, chairman moran, ranking member blumenthal, and members of the subcommittee. good afternoon. thank you for the opportunity to speak today. and thank you for your action to assist the olympic and paralympic movement during this time, particularly in the passage of the year, protection of young athletes act. i'd like to open with an unreserved apology to anyone who suffered at the hands of abuse within the course of their sport participation. i agree with the senators who have spoken today when they say the system failed them.
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that we must do more to protect those athletes in the future. sport is about enjoyment. i'm so sorry especially to those here in the room, but to those who have faced abuse in sport everywhere, for what they have faced. my full written testimony is available on the subcommittee's website. i'll address issues here. in common with my olympic and paralympic colleagues, we have taken significant steps in the athlete protection area in recent times. our ngb also features participation from many athletes who had previous participation in another sport. to that end, we've made available counseling and mental health tools to anyone who has faced abuse in any sport that is now participating in weightlifting. whether that be physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. that action came out directly from the feedback of a survivor of abuse in sport. the by the end of 2018, we've worked with -- we're working currently with individuals to
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make pro bono facilities available to all members who are at loohletes within usa weight lifting. the rest of my testimony, i'll briefly address the issues raised by members of this committee with me previously. creating an athlete-focused culture should be at the heart of every ngb. we're not alone in our desire. i'd like to recognize usa swimming whose national team and members of their athlete committee spoke to all ngbs about their positive culture just two days ago. culture is complex, but its heart is about listening and creating trust. i was pleased to hear in common with usa swimming, we make nothing mandatory for our athletes, and in our case, our athletes have the final say of things like selection procedures. making the athletes truly at the heart of what we do. since 2016, we have -- we have tried to make incremental changes and build opportunities for listening and learning from
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our athletes, both elite and nonelite, to implement further changes to which i can go into sfu further detail if you wish. some practical measures we also introduced, we have an independent ethics and judicial committee, including federal prosecuto prosecutors, former inspector generals and former state-level judges. we implemented sport-specific measures including the removal of the need to weigh in in the nude, weigh in in our sport can now be done within a singlet, therefore, fully clothed. that's also been suggested to our international federation who will be discussing that in less than one month. we've made our reporting easier. we can have a telephone tree when you call, having links on our website and making immediate information available very clearly and prominently at each ander and every one of our events. the u.s. center for safe sport
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is a key measure taken by the olympic movement and the paralympic mooucvement. together with the act afore fep mentioned to create a new, independent body to investigate the area of sex jewelual abuse. to that end, the usa weightlifting quau drdrupled ou funding in common with ngbs as a whole doubling our funding for the soecenter to meet the needs investigations across the country. we developed a relationship with the u.s. ainti-doping agency. i call upon members of congress to supportlikewise and further the independent nature of the center to give it the support it truly needs to do the job we all would like it to do. in moving on to our leadership within the olympic movement, the u.s. olympic committee, i'd like to sigh that winning is not a
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bad thing. america's public when we go to the games expects us to win. we all cheer when we see the heroes of the olympic movement who are there and speak to the need to participate in sport and speak to athletes and inspire other athletes to participate in sport. that might be just at the local level. bull but it's about doing it the right way. i think that's where we're moving toward thousand, winning in the right way, winning in an athlete-focused manner. i commend the appointment of suzanne lyons to be the president of the u.s. olympic committee. shown a commitment to our athletes, a willingness no listen to both nationaling governing bodies, athletes most importantly, and other stakeholders in it the olympic mooust. i appla movement. doing so will allow us and in turn encourage us to raise the expectations of those that we endorse as clubs.
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i also commend the usoc for bringing into place an athletes association and diverting money for that need within the olympic movement. in looking for ideas on how congress might best support us and look for areas of improveme improvement, i've already mentioned funding of the center. i already mentioned the need for support of that center in both non-financial and financial senses. in common with the action the federal government has around usada. continuing periodic interest and attention to this matter, i think, would best allow the olympic movement to further improve. oversight of youth sport, it's important to recognize that individuals participate in youth sport inside and outside of the olympic and paralympic movement. and it's equally important they are supported and protected outside the paralympic movement as well as within that movement. and finally, in cooperation with law enforcement to ensure that no matter where an issue comes
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up, be that domestic or broad, that issue can be dealt with in the right and proper manner by law enforcement. thank you for your time. i'd be happy to take any questions you may have mr. andrews, thank you for your testimony and thank you for the conversation we had preechesly. miss cammett? >> subcommittee chairmanmoran, ranking member blumenthal, distinguished members of the subcommittee, my name is anne cammett. i have been involved with figure skating since i was 6 years old. first as an athlete, then a volunteer official, committee member, and committee chair. i have been a member of u.s. figure skating's board of directors since 2015. in may of this year, i was elected the president. with me today is our 2010 olympian and u.s. figure skating athlete advisory committee chair, mark ladwig. u.s. figure skating is fully committed to providing a safe, healthy, and positive environment for all athletes,
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members, and volunteers. we strongly support the protecting young victims from sexual abuse and safe sport authorization act of 2017. like social welfare experts, we believe the best practices for protecting minor athletes from abuse are education and awareness training, required background checks for people who have frequent contact with minor athletes, and mandatory reporting requirements for alleged and suspected child abuse. u.s. figure skating incorporated these practices well before the passage of this act. in april, this committee heard testimony from mr. craig moritsi, a u.s. figure skating member. during his testimony, mr. moritsi referred to his 1999 allegations of sexual misconduct against a former coach. it is true that mr. moritsi's complaint was time barred under the organization's reporting rules in effect at that time. however, mr. moritsi's case prompted u.s. figure skating to
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examine its rules and procedures in the area of athlete safety. as a result, just months later, u.s. figure skating instituted its first-ever harassment and abuse policy, and mandatory reporting requirement for all its members. the following year, another new rule mandated publishing the identity of any banned or suspended members in "skating" magazine, later moved a detailed list to u.s. figure skating's official website where it still resides today. since may 2000, u.s. figure skating has banned 16 members for sexual misconduct. six for financial irregularities. and two for ethical violations. u.s. figure skating has worked to strengthen its athlete protection rules and policies for the past two decades. in 2008, u.s. figure skating mandated criminal background checks for all coaches requesting a credential for any u.s. figure skating sanctioned event or activity. in 2011, that mandate was exp d
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expanded to require a coach's continuing education component that included child protection education and awareness. in 2013 as required by the u.s. liolympic committee, we officiay launched our safe sport program. consulting all athlete protection rules and policies into one place. when the u.s. center for safe sport opened in march 2017, u.s. figure skating aligned its programs with the center's requirements. we strongly support the u.s. center for safe sport, its mission and all who are dedicated to doing everything possible to end abuse in sport. in order for the center and the national governing bodies to reach their potential in doing so, we respectfully suggest the following going forward. so number one, increase funding for the u.s. center for safe sport to provide more personnel in the areas of education, investigation, and adjudication. fulfilling the center's role effectively during these formative years is the key to
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establishing credibility and long-term viability. number two, create a coordinated safe sport public awareness campaign that all nationaling gove governing bodies can use and support in solidarity. this campaign should be created by experienced child welfare professionals with a goal to education athletes, parents, coaches and all who work with young athletes to be vigilant, reactive, to it all forms of abuse. number three, provide a national database of banned and suspended persons searchable by name, sport, state, and region. number four, amend the protecting young victims from sexual abuse act to give subpoena power to the u.s. center of safe sport to provide more effective investigations and enforcement and number five, finally, expand the reach for the u.s. center for safe sport. athletes within the jurisdiction of national governing bodies
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represent a small segment of youth sports participants in the u.s. a full commitment to ending abuse in sports must include children that participate outside the auspicious of the u.s. olympic movement. thank you for the touopportunito speak here today. >> thank you for your testimony. mr. hinchey? >> chairman moran, ranking member blumenthal, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to speak todayi. the organization as a whole, and i personally, deeply regret the experiences of some of our members that included sexual, physical, or emotional misconduct. i am personally committed to doing whatever i can to prevent such an abuse from happening in the future. may 23rd this year, i testified before the house of representatives about the comprehensive abuse program and
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response program that usa swimming worked to create and develop since 2010. today, i'd like to describe more recent efforts that usa swimming made to demonstrate our continued commitment to providing safe and healthy environments for our swimmers. over the past five months,ests have included the usa swimming board of directors voted to set aside $1.5 million to fund a reserve for swim assist costs. in president 2014, usa swimmer's usa swimming survive assistance fund. this approval will ensure resources are available and meet the needs of those who suffered abuse in swimming. the safe sports committee, which is made up of a group of dedicated volunteers,parents, met and discussed various ways. i also personally met with several survivors. their input has been the most
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powerful, compelling and effective i've received. usa swimming debuted its new club recognition program. this program encourages local clubs to implement additional athlete protection education policies and practices. usa swimming national team members and alums including a survivor created a public service announcement to take a stand against athlete abuse. additionally, we are in the preliminary discussions with our largest team management platform to push safe sport content through local team websites to administrators and parents. team websites are how participant parents stay up to date for practices and meet information and this is a tremendous opportunity to reach out to our parents. usa swimming also recognizes the value in taking the smaller routine steps day in and day out. as well as partnering with other organizations that are experts in leader in this space. both of which are further detailed in my written testimony. usa swimming sits before you today as one member of the
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olympic sports community. the united states olympic committee has indicated there will be heightened expectations and greater oversight over national governing bodies with respect to event -- excuse me, with respect to abuse prevention and response, and we welcome that. the u.s. center for safe sport has indicated that nationally governing bodies must adopt the center's policies and user education and training. we also welcome that. there is no pride of ownership when it comes to athlete protection. u.s. swimming will lead in this space, but we will do so humbly. learning from those who are willing to teach. as we gather to discuss abuse prevention efforts across the olympic movement, we acknowledge there's no simple solution. it will take congress, the united states olympic committee, the u.s. center for safe sport, u.s. swimming, and all 49 national governing bodies, to work together to put together a comprehensive framework in place that creates safe environments,
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prevents abuse, responds effectively when it occurs, and achieves systemic change. there must be a comprehensive approach because anything else would be inadequate. as that collective effort progresses, usa swimming is committed to the continued development of our own program. we've been busy enhancing our athlete protection efforts since i first testified five months ago and we will stay busy. i have said before, and i say it today, and i will forever say, that providing a safe and healthy environment to our children, athletes, and members, is our top priority. i look forward to sharing our experiences, learning from our peers, and working with you to prevent abuse including child sexual abuse in sport and i very much look forward to answering your questions today. >> mr. hinchey, thank you for your testimony today and our conversation s previously. mr. steele? >> good afternoon, chairman moran, ranking member
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blumenthal, senators of the subcommittee, in 2007, i accepted the position of ceo of the u.s. bobsled and skeleton federation. now usa bobsled and skeleton. and i still had fond memories of competing in the 1998, 2002, winter olympic games in bobsled. so i was excited about returning to that. but i also knew it would not be an easy role. the organization had just been restructured by the usoc due to a series of leadership mishaps, including mismanagementme of sexual harassment allegations against one of the coaches in 2005. that issue had been resolved by the time the new board hired me but we still needed to establish a professional performance-based culture so through the usoc, i set up mandatory training for all staff and coaches on eeoc protections and workplace standards to ensure our people were trained and expectations
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were clear from the very start. but policies can only be effective if the leadership sets the example. this is part of our culture at usabs and we never compromise those values. particularly with the leadership team. much hascenter for safe sport. although we have not needed to utilize the center for investigating claims, they've been incredibly valuable for offering training, awareness, policy guidance, and education to our athletes, coaches, and staff. we have adopted a safe sport policy and updated our bylaws to reflect our commitment to protecting athletes. the recent abuses of our young athletes at the hands of those they trusted is beyond deplorable, and we must do everything in our power to identify the root causes for why each and every abuse happened and what it will take to make sure similar abuses are not repeated in the future. usa bobsled and skeleton is
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fortunate we've been able to protect our athletes thus far. no organization is immune to the threat and we can never be complacent in our policies, rules, or standards of conduct. i say our athletes because collectively, we all represent olympic sport. and when one organization fails to protect an athlete, we all have failed that athlete. we're not a large ngb. we have unique challenges. and that was one of the topics for here, the uniqueness of the ngbs. i'm going to speak a little bit to that. kids don't compete in bobsled and skeleton in high school and college. so we're responsible for finding them, introducing them to the sports, training all levels from beginner to olympic medalists. we have to hire foreign coaches or develop coaches on our own. our costs are high due to the importance of technology and high cost of shipping that technology around the world. we don't raise money from events or membership so we rely on
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sponsors, donors, and the usoc for funding. and the usoc is the largest contributor to that funding. there are three key factors necessary to win a race in bobsled and skeleton. competitive pushing at the start. competitive driving down the hill. and a competitive sled. between 1960 and 1998, the usa only had two of those three and we experienced a 46-year medal drought. prior to 1998, bobsled pilots were responsible for buying or building their own sleds, while other nations invested millions on sled technology. that changed when nascar driver jeff bodine came forward and we began a partnership to build american sleds and provide them to the national team. started a similar project with bmw north america in 2010. and because of those two programs, every single bobsled medal that's been earned by the u.s. after 1956 was either in a bodine or bmw bobsled.
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the past five winter games, 30 american athletes for sta s wer on the medal podium at the olympic games thanks to our investment in technology. and without the modest but critical funding provided by the usoc, it simply would not be possible. the first part of our mission statement is to enable united states athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence in olympic competition. if we fail to protect athletes, that mission is not possible. and as we explore strategies for improving athlete protection, the uniqueness of the ngbs must be considered. we should also exercise caution when considering the massive changes that have been talked about within the usoc. they will impact ngbs in drastically different ways and want to make sure those changes are actually improving the protection of athletes. we owe it to our athletes to both ensure they're protected and help them achieve their dreams of representing the united states in the olympic games. thank you for the opportunity to
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address the important issues facing the olympic family and i'll be happy to answer questions. >> mr. steele, thank you very much. i'm going to depart to go cast a vote, and i'm going to ask senator caputo to chair the hearing. i'll be back to relieve her of those duties so she can go vote. we'll continue our hearing without a pause or a recess. so i'll return shortly. thank you. shelley. >> thank you all very much. we'll start the questioning with
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senator cortez-masto. >> thank you. thank you, all, for being here. i know this is the fourth hearing and i so appreciate the chair and ranking member and continuing down this important discussion. mr. hinchey, i want to thank you for sitting down with me yesterday and talking with me. the question i want to start for the panel that i have, to what extent are you personally and your leadership and staff actively engaging with both the athletes advisory council, as well as victims of sexual abuse to help direct your programming to stamp out the culture of abuse that has enabled what we have seen these predators to target at loohletes? is can y can you talk about what you're doing individually or within your organization? yep. let's start, let's go down, mr. andrews, please. >> we -- tauhank you, senator.
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we have tried to create a culture since 2016 of really putting athletes at the heart of everything we do. ultimately, athletes are who we serve first and foremost. they're the people who step on the platforms and lift the heavyweights, in our case, literally. to your question, we von our board u.s. athlete advisory council representative who has an ultimate -- we have a second athlete on our board. we have in common with every -- as i mentioned in my opening remarks, that is the body that actually has the final approval as a whole on our selection procedures. for example. to your point, i mentioned in my opening remarks that there are specific actions we have taken as a result of the feedback of victims of abuse. not just in our sport, but in others. plus i make myself personally,
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as do my staff, available by phone by phone, e-mail -- >> let me take it a little easier. i appreciate that. let me be more specific. this is an area i've worked in. we need to change the culture. we need experts to come in and help. i think. we all do when addressing this issue. what are you doing in general to change this culture? what have you put in place? what experts have you relied to come in to help with education, to help with training, to help with understanding how we change this culture? is there anybody you've reached out to in the professional field to address this issue? i've only got five minutes. i'm going to ask, if you don't have anything like that, please say so so we can move on. >> no, our biggest experts on athletes are athletes. >> thank you. miss cammett? >> thank eye. i appreciate the direction. what we have done is in the fall last year, we hired a safe sport
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council who's intaking all the information and has that experti expertise. we're currently looking for another position to hire which will address specifically education and training. our aac is very involved we realrea have encouraged our athletes to speak up and have a voice. we have a new campaign, if you will, called your voice. it's educating -- it's the better known skaters, more public facing, to come into communities and work with children in that to help them understand they do have a voice and can speak up. we also worked on education and training after speaking to survivors so we could make it more focused. >> okay. thank you. mr. hinchey? >> we have several different -- is it on? we have -- last six months or
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so, we've had an opportunity, several different groups of national team athletes at the olympic training center so we invited them to lunch to speak to them directly, getting their feedback and asking for them what they need more from us, how we can further engage. we're a large organization that has 3,000-member clubs so our safe sport department has an ability to get to as many zone meetings, regional meetings. most recently, we started our first ever athlete leadership conference in houston i attended. these athletes are the 13 to 17-year-olds that are not necessarily going to be olympic athletes, but those that are at their local clubs, that have an opportunity to influence a greater number than we can of their teammates. we've met with them and talked to them. from a content perspective, we've taken criticism based on meeting with survivors on our content. we halted that distribution. we hired presidium to come in and awe dudit that fully. listen to the athletes on the
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best possible methods to distribute that. at our convention, we met with safe sport fellows, local club athletes. they were critical of the fact we're not helping them with the right tools and social media communication. that will be the next expertise we hire outside. >> thank you. mr. steele? >> we also have our aac members are part of the board. we have regular communication with them. getting feedback from the athletes is one of the most important things in identifying maybe some unknown issues that are out there , so that's one o the things we do pretty much on an annual basis. i do a postseason survey for the athletes and they're very candid about what they're happy about, what they're not happy about. in addition to that, we are doing culture training with the entire organization. not necessarily related to safe sport because that isn't the primary issue or an issue that we've experienced really in quite a while.
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but culture training is important and then that involves, you know, engaging with the athletes and finding out what gaps they see. so people academy is the group that we're working with on that. and that's pretty much it. >> thank you. i noticed my time is up. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank all of you for being here today. and thank you for working to enact the safe sport authorization act. sexual abuse and safe sport authorization act we passed hereby here in congress. we had the athletes in front of us two panels ago, i believe. the question i asked, i was surprised at the answer i got. realizing these are elite athletes at the top of their sport. and at the same time, young, still formulating minds at the same time. so i asked them about mental health and sports psychologists and i was surprised that none of
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them, as i recall, expressed the accessibility to mental health professional or sports counseling. a lot of sports, there's a big mental aspect to it as well. i'm interested in knowing, i'll start with you, miss cammett, at figure skating, how the ngb is maintaining mental health options for the young athletes and are you providing those -- or how is that being provided for, are you aware there's any kind of professional -- are they aware of it or is there something like that? >> thank you. yes, we do provide it for our elite athletes and they're made aware of it. we have what's called an international selection pool which is top athletes from which woe draw our -- the kids we send -- the athletes we send internationally. and we then have team usa. once you get to travel. so those individuals that are on ur our isp, they have these
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services available to them. >> are they using them, or do you know? >> they are using them, especially when we get to the olympic level. we definitely have ongoing providers that we use. sometimes what happens is they start with while they're in colorado springs, they meet with the usoc psychologists or mental health service provider then when they go back to their home, we follow up and make sure there's a provider there. right after i became president, there was a request for it, so i got to see firsthand what we do. we take it very seriously because as you mention, it's a huge component when you get to the elite level. >> does anybody else want to comment? mr. hin krrchey? >> yes. >> swimming? >> apologies. our national team services director who manages our currently 60 athletes in our national team program is in contact with them individually and collectively about resources that we have at usa swimming to
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provide mental health care in addition to other medical services. our sports medicine director as well is interacting with medical services people at the olympic training center as well as other places that we travel. we try to travel with somebody that has the ability to support that. we have a sports psychologist that also travels with us to our most important olympic gold medal -- gold-level meets which are international meets. but it is something we're hearing a lot from some of our most famous athletes and current national teamers. it's something our director wants to do more. >> yeah. i just saw, actually, a billboard with michael phelps talking about mental health. and i see it, too, as an ask not just to help them reach maximum performance, but also if there is a situation or a coach or a trusted individual in their life is abusing them in any way, that is another outlet for that person in the privacy of a medical professional to be able to speak more freely and more
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openly. so i'm glad to know that that is going on. the other question i asked was about their medical records. obviously, this involved the doctor in michigan. it didn't seem -- it seemed that there, again, there was a lot of i don't really know where my medical records are. he gave me prescriptions. i don't know who kept track of all this. what kind of things are you all doing to make sure, do you all have access to medical records or is that kept within the privacy of the individual? ? athletes and guardians have access to this when it's necessary. how do you work those kinds of privacy issues along with oversight issues? anybody want to start with that? miss cammett? >> yep, i can. we -- the skaters in our situation are trained
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individually. they decide who their coach should be and things like that. so they're distributed throughout the country. and so they have their own personal care provider. regular doctor they would see or if they're training, perhaps, in colorado springs and they wouldn't have a provider there. as officials and as president of u.s. figure skating, i do not have access to those records. they are hipaa. >> right. >> we do have a centralized -- we have people that i should say are -- can have that knowledge when we're deciding to send out athletes because athletes do agree when they're going to travel that they are healthy. so, does that address your question? >> it does. i think as anybody knows, if you have your own home provider, and let's say you're over in europe competing with your team and you're a young man or woman and you have a headache or something, or you've hurt yourself, you're administered some kind of prescription medication, you can see how the
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records could make not jive. this happens in it regular -- in regular medical care as well. even if you're staying in the same community. you might go to a specialist and general practice ptionepractiti. getting your records centralized is better for health care and transparency where young athletes might be more vulnerable to accepting the medical advice and nobody's really looking at what may be conflicting with other things and things of that nature. >> that is a good point. if i can also add, when the athletes are traveling and there is a medical professional, they fill out any prescription information that they're taking at the time when they go. and the doctor has that information and the doctor does fill out if anything was prescribed. we also have medical staff at our nationals and that's always detailed in a report. >> well, since it's just the two of us and the chairman's coming back, we can keep on. did you have an additional question? >> i do. thank you. thank you, madam chair.
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i've haefeard from a couple of . maybe this is to all of you a yes question. do you agree we should be adequately funding to address investigation, adjudication? mr. andrews, if you could just say yes or no. yes? >> yes. >> yes. >> thank you. and one of the recommendations i think was miss cammett that you talked about was yeneeding a national database of banned people. would you all agree that is something that is necessary? starting with mr. andrews. yes or no. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> and i'm going to ask mr. hin hinchey, i don't want to put you on the spot. what you learned, what should we know about, what should be addressed when we're talking about banning people and is there anything that you've learned from that that we need to take into consideration? >> right now, for us, with the change as it relates to initial reporting, adjudication of the
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center for safe sport, what we're learning is our responses, unfortunately, are not as fast as they were when we were first handling. i think -- it goes back to your questions to funding. funding is significant. at the same time, we need to hire the right amount of people that can be responsive to the needs of our athletes. right now we're finding the feedback for us, what we're lee learning, we're not getting to these as fast as we need to. >> okay. okay. and let me also just put this out there, and i hope this isn't the case, but i hope you're not waiting for congress to act to stand this up before we make the necessary changes to protect our athletes. please tell me that you are still, no matter what happens here, you're still going to move forward to change that culture, to protect our athletes, to do what is necessary within your organizations, is that correct c? can i start with mr. andrews? >> yes, absolutely. >> yes. >> yes, and just further we need
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to absolutely have a culture of reporting that is safe for everyone. >> yes. >> okay. and then you talked a little bit about a campaign. tell me what you think the campaign, miss cammett, i know we've talked, others, that safe sport, what kind of campaign are we talking about that would be necessary? >> so in this case as we're also working on educational materials that are age adequate, we're waiting for the usoc to develop that, we have a campaign called your voice. and it's to, part of the problem when there is abuse and especially with young children, they don't know to express it. they don't know what to say. i don't have any background in this, but my observation and experiences that there's a lot involved with being afraid to talk to someone about it. so this campaign is really to say, you have a voice, and you need to express it and let people know when there's something not right. either with you or you observe it. >> is that a campaign that you
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are taking on through the organization or you are hoping that safe sport, u.s. safe sport, will take this on? >> it's something that u.s. figure skating has done. has done already. >> okay. >> we have a t-shirt back here, too. >> thank you. i see it. your voice is powerful. that's great. thank you. let me ask the dynamic now between the ngbs and u.s. olympic committee. what is it that we need to know that is happening between that relationship? in other words, are they dictating, mandating certain things that can or should be done with the ngbs to address this culture? is there more work that needs to be done? is the interaction between the two working how it should? i'll leave that open to the committee. please address that for me. >> yes, they are. they're mandating certain elements especially with regard to our adherence to the u.s. safe sport. ultimately, it comes down to the
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ngb first to take the action to protect their own athletes. and put into place actions that specifically protect athletes within that sport. that's what we've done. >> i'll just speak quickly that they are developing, it's continuing, it's evolving, and meanwhile, we are also going ahead and doing it, but we do feel important -- that it is important that if the usoc would have a collective program, then all the ngbs can benefit from it and have the same message and information getting out to all ngbs. >> okay. >> it's absolutely a priority that is clear to them today and has been communicated to us. having said that, i think -- and i've said this previously, we look at this as our problem. you know, the survivors, the abuse that has occurred in swimming, although we've invested in a program that we think has been very strong over the past eight years, it absolutely needs to get better.
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i think we have -- i don't think we can rely upon anybody else. we owe this to our athletes. therefore, i see this as our number one priority. and for us to continue to be a priority, and if the usoc can help, we're willing to do that. we're willing to share and learn, but we feel like this is on us. >> anything to add, mr. steele? >> just that that partnership has been crucial for our organization. we are smaller and so the resources that they've been able to offer up as far as helping us with, you know, guidance on the implementation, changes, and to circle back about the mental health question that was asked, you know, that is something that's important to us. it doesn't come up that often, but when it does, you really need to have a resource for an athlete. and just recently, it was announced to all of us that the usoc is going to be adding this as a resource for our athletes and we are very exciting to hear that. >> thank you. thank you.
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>> thank you. i'm going to ask one more question before i go to senator hassan. it's on the coaching. senator cortez-masto mentioned the banned list. you all seem to be very much in support of that. i know it could be something other than a coach. a physical therapist or something like that. is that envisioned to be a public document? >> yes. >> yes. >> and those names are gathered, how would you as an organization, would you be forwarding these names to the olympic committee, do they do an investigation or is it -- how is that going to work? does anybody know? have they figured that out yet? >> not to my knowledge. our banned list is public. we're responsible for that. now that the u.s. center for safe sport provides that aju adjudicati adjudication, they would give us notice. we would take care of that list and also contact the club. >> so you all formulate your own list and then that becomes part of the u.s. olympic committee -- that's the u.s. olympic
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committee list, unless they have a list of their own they add on, which i guess is possible. how -- just curious to know, how many individuals are on the banned list for u.s. swimming? >> 163. >> wow. that's a lot. and how's that information disseminated to the -- you send it out to all your member clubs and organizations? >> it's public on our website then on the individual occasion someone is banned, we then communicate to that club. >> you do. right. thank you. senator hassan? >> thank you very much, senator capito. good afternoon to all of you. thank you for tolerating our in and out as we go vote. i want to thank not only the witnesses for being here but all the witnesses who are here today as well, we are grateful for your voices and your strength. and we are working to make sure that, obviously, the personal safety and autonomy of athletes is just always paramount. and so, again, i appreciate you being willing -- your
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willingness to be here. i want everybody on the panel to have a chance to quanswer a question that i think u.s. swimming answered earlier, but as we've heard here today, congress passed the protecting young victims from sexual abuse and safe sport authorization act. the goal of the legislation is to protect athletes, facilitate reporting of suspected or alleged incidents of abuse, and ensure a robust, impartial, and independent system exists to do just that. obviously, an important part of this process is speaking with and really listening to survivors of sexual abuse and misconduct. and i know that, i think mr. hinchey, you indicated that u.s. swimming has, but for the other witnesses here, have your organizations met with survivors? have you been talking with them to get their input about how to bring about lasting change?
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and why don't we start with you, mr. andrews? >> yes, we have. both those who have suffered within our sport and those who have come into our sport having previously suffered. and we put into place specific recommendations based off their feedback. >> thank you. miss cammett? >> yes, we also have and have incorporated information from them to make our training and education programs stronger. >> okay. and mr. steele? >> survivors, no, but we did have the safe sport individuals come and speak with the athletes to make sure that they were aware of the policies and available resources. >>? i would suggest that as you've heard from your colleagues, it's a very important thing to do. and obviously every situation is different and survivors will make their own judgments about when and how they want to engage. but i think it's incredibly important that we do that as part of this process and make sure their voices are heard. so i hope very much you will
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consider it. mr. hinchey, i wanted to go back to usa swimming a little bit. when we talk about sexual abuse in athletes, we typically think of the horrible abuses committed in usa gymnastics at the hands of larry nassar who has finally been brought to justice. but as you have acknowledged, usa swimming has a particularly bad record as well. among the allegations against usa swimming is the failure to complete back grouground checks coaches which resulted in dozens of coaches being able to commit sexual abuse and engage in misconduct against their swimmers. in 2010, abc news revealed that 36 coaches were banned for life by usa swimming because of sexual misconduct. in a july 2018 report, npr revealed that the banned list has grown. and it reported 150. you just said 163. it's also been reported that usa swimming knew about sexual misconduct from its coaches but did nothing to protect its athletes. and as recently as last
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february, the "orange county register" reported top usa swimming officials covered up hundreds of sexual abuse cases spanning decades. this is in so many ways falling tlee athletes in the united states of america to be treated. one of the concerns i have is that it appears that in some of the cases where coaches were not banned, it was because usa swimming believed the coaches' contention that the relationship was consensual, and i just want to say it's not possible to have a truly consensual relationship given the power dynamics and the fact that coaches literally hold the key to an athlete's olympic dream and their future. so i understand that usa swimming now bans such so-called consensual relationships, but given that, will you commit to revisiting the previous complaints of athletes who said they were sexually abused in a relationship the coach claims was consensual?
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>> absolutely. this is my top priority since i've been at usa swimming. we'll continue to do that. there's nothing more important than the safety of our athletes. at the same time, we will also need to be working in conjunction with any new complaints because those will go to the u.s. center for safe sport so again, we'll need to be working together in order for us to make that happen, but i'm certainly more than welcome to meet with any survivor. >> no, thank you, and just, you know, the request is really for a commitment to revisit those cases where consideration of a coach's position that it was consensual kept the coach from being banned. so, i'd look forward to continuing to hear more about that. i see that the chair and ranking member are back. i just wanted to close, mr. andrews, i appreciated your saying that it is possible to win and still keep athletes safe, and obviously, the two are not mutually exclusive, but obviously, an athlete's autonomy
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and safety comes first, and i think it's really important in this day and age that we acknowledge we can do both. thank you very much. >> senator hassan, thank you very much. let me ask a couple of questions, and then we'll turn to the ranking member. one of the things i'm told i should be concerned about is with u.s. center for safe sports and it's beginning to be up and running, in a sense, that there is a slowness in the response. and i would like to know whether that's true and what your experience has been. it's important for victims, for survivors to have the reality as well as the impression that they are being listened to and that's one of the things we've heard from those survivors in numerous conversations is it was as if no one cared. so, if we're going to create a culture in which athletes feel comfortable in reporting, and in this case to the u.s. center for safe sports, they need to know there's a prompt and real
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interest in their well being. that their story can be told and actions will follow. what's the experience that you've had in the timeliness of u.s. center for safe sports responding to your athletes, or would you not know that because only the athletes know that? mr. andrews. >> that -- there are some for which we wouldn't know because the report is made directly to the center, but i would say that your comments are accurate. the center has been overwhelmed with a volume of investigations that's been required to carry out, and as a result, does require more support from all of us, financially and nonfinancially, to both improve its processes and critically its timelines. in the case of emotional and physical abuse complaints, they're still dealt with at the national governing body level and they're able to be dealt with more quickly because simply, we're less overwhelmed.
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>> ms. cammett, you were ready to speak. my question would be, is that the experience or anyone have any specifics in which they can provide today for our hearing record? ms. cammett. >> we don't have specifics. similar to mr. andrews, with weight lifting, we sometimes make the complaint for someone or where we could tell something's going on because we've been asked if someone is member. but bottom line, it does take a while, and again, i think it's because they're overwhelmed. >> anyone else? >> as recent as last week in our united states aquatic convention in jacksonville, i sat in our safe sport committee meeting and we heard loud and clear that the responsiveness is taking too long and they're concerned because they're not getting any calls back regardless of what the complaint is. >> that's a useful thing to know. i mean, number of you have testified about getting additional taxpayer resources. you indicate that they're
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overwhelmed. overwhelmed, for lack of -- i mean, i understand there's a volume in complaints, but overwhelmed because of process and procedure or overwhelmed because there's just not enough people to do the work? or both? >> i would say it is a degree of both. they're still new. they're still learning, and if you look at the history of the u.s. anti-doping agency now recognized as the gold standard around the world, they suffered from similar issues at the start of their life. we have a specific issue, we had a sexual harassment of a child complaint which we heard nothing for several months from the center, resulting in us taking a last-minute interim measure against that individual as a national governing body but i do believe it's both of the items that you said. it's both a need to employ more investigators to ensure that the time line is reduced and also expertise -- additional expertise to continue to improve their processes as they become a more mature organization. >> one of the -- i started to
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say processes. one of the processes that we could perhaps do is just the acknowledgment of the complaint, of something being filed so that, again, there's knowledge that someone's paying attention. let me ask this question. a number of you indicated the importance of support from maybe this you in particular, mr. steele, financial support from the usoc. describe to me, i mean, all four of you, all of you have different ngb resources, different magnitude of your programs, what is it that the u.s. olympic committee does for you financially? and by that, i, in part mean, what kind of dollars are we talking about? >> depends on the year of the quad, because the percentage does change, but i would say on
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average, probably 65, sometimes up to 70% of the total revenue that comes in is from the usoc. and we're talking about, you know, roughly $2 million a year. >> and are those numbers -- you indicated they change from year to year, but have they changed as a result of the new attention focused on sexual abuse? is there -- you're talking about money that is utilized across the board, not just related to this issue, this $2 million. that's money that supports your governing body, broadly. >> it's very specific to athlete programming. >> okay. >> that is the only thing it's used for. >> and what does that mean? >> that means coaches, taking care of the team, traveling around the world, fielding teams, buying equipment. it has to be related to a sports program for the athletes. >> and has that increased as a result of an effort by the usoc
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to deal with the issue that's this topic of this hearing? >> i don't believe so. >> okay. anyone else? >> i would echo darrin's statement. we get about 15% that's direct athlete funded to our national team athletes so they have a chance to live and compete at the highest levels. >> same. it's not for this initiative. >> okay. >> we're at 2.7% and again, hasn't increased due to this initiative. >> senator blumenthal is recognized. >> thank you. i have another meeting so i'm going to have to depart fairly soon, but i want to ask a few questions here. first of all, do any of you use what are called flagged lists? there was an a.p. report in 2010 that usa swimming has a secret, in quotes, flag list in addition to the public banned list. do any of your organization use a flagged list in addition to the banned list? >> we don't call it a flag list.
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for those that have a criminal charge that we become -- that we get to know about, then we certainly would flag their entry to membership, request for membership, and we would deny that membership at headquarters. >> do others have the same practice? >> no, we don't have that practice, and then also, we do the background checks on all coaches. it's required, and people that are in a position of power and so anything would be flagged there too. >> so, your practice is, mr. hinchey, that you use the flag list relating to charges but a ban as to convictions? is that correct? >> could you restate your question? sorry. >> i'm sorry? >> could you repeat your question? sorry. >> you use the flag list to include individuals who have been charged. >> so if they're currently not a member of our organization, and they have a criminal charge,
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then we will denote that so that if there is a request for membership, we can deny that. >> and you ban individuals who are convicted? is that the distinction? >> anyone that has been a member first that goes through the process of a hearing or gets convicted, then we would ban them at that point. >> have you taken action against norm havercroft, one of the individuals whom he sexually abused, thompson, is in the audience today. >> i'm not familiar with that case prior to my arrival to usa swimming but i know that he's not a member of usa swimming. >> could you verify whether he has been banned? >> not to my knowledge. >> what about paul burgen? he's a swimming coach who is not banned, apparently, but believed to be on the flagged list and who allegedly sexually abused olympic swimmer dina beginning
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when she was 11 years old. >> i'm not familiar with that. >> could you get back to me about that name? >> yes, sir. >> mr. steele, my office has been told that a female athlete on the usa bobsled and skeleton team was exposed to the sexually explicit content of a male coach's photographs or other material. subsequently, other athletes were exposed to. could you tell me whether you were informed by the united states olympic committee aac representative of these sexually explicit content incidents? >> i was not informed by the usoc about this, but i did hear about this. that was -- >> what were you told? >> well, i was told that that -- basically what you just said
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occurred, and so immediately, started asking questions to find out what had happened. >> was disciplinary action taken? >> to the extent of a warning, but -- it was a warning about procedure. the situation was -- it wasn't as had first been described. >> there was more than one person is my understanding. >> yes. because multiple athletes had the electronic device that had access to those images. >> so, the procedure worked or not? the athlete complaint procedures. >> yeah, they worked. it was dealt with. >> no action was taken. >> no, because of the circumstances other than a warning. >> well, i don't have time to
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completely explore all the details but i'd appreciate a written account. >> i will provide that. >> thank you. would anyone here oppose establishing a inspector general within the u.s. olympic committee? >> no. >> i'd encourage it. >> well, let me ask the question a different way. would you, in fact, encourage it? >> absolutely. >> yes. >> yes. >> thank you. >> yes. >> would you encourage establishing an athlete advocate within the u.s. olympic committee? >> yes. >> all of you agree. >> yes. >> and would you voluntarily commit to increasing athlete representation to a majority on your boards and committees to ensure their voices and concerns are heard? would you commit to that? >> i would be happy to. >> i'd be happy to do that. >> i think we'd want to research so that it's not the majority. we could increase the minority. >> well, it's 20% now.
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>> right. >> i'm asking that you commit to increasing it to a majority. >> yeah, we would not be able to do that at this time. a majority. >> why? >> i think part of the -- what you have to look at, and this is some of my opinion, but also the learning and life experiences that come with developing as -- from a young person to an adult and we have many people that skated at a high level that are involved in that administration, but they've timed out for the ten-year maximum, and i think you need a good balance. you need that life experience, the knowledge that comes from -- >> how about 50%? >> we could explore that. yes. >> i'd like to hear back from you about that. >> okay. thank you, senator. >> others? >> our board is made up of our how the of delegates throughout the entire organization, the volunteer organization, so we'd need to work with those bylaws to do so but we would be in favor of having more athletes.
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>> i would not with be in favor that. >> why? >> it comes down to the competence of the board. we certainly want the athletes' voice. that's -- but if athletes haven't completed education, haven't had -- our board members have to be successful in some other aspect of life. hopefully some specialty that we can use as almost a consultant, you know, situation. one of the things we do see with competing athletes that are on the board is -- strategy for the organization. competing athlete is looking at four-year increments and it's difficult to think about long-term strategies.
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my understanding is that there are coaches and other professionals who are on the list, on a banned list, but still employed at the club level. help me understand this problem if it exists and what a potential solution would look like. >> mr. andrews, we may have had a conversation like this. seems to me we did. >> we did. we spoke briefly on the subject. that problem does exist. there's a number of ways in which it exists.
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there is a responsibility at the ngb and myself and my colleagues here have outlined some of the ways in which we inform local level participants and local level clubs of those bans. for example, ourselves, each time we sanction an event, we send that banned list directly to that sanctioning individual in order to ensure it's enforced. that's just one example. i think the biggest issue is the fact that the club level, physically, we are not in all of these cities ourselves. physically, we're not there to investigate and to enforce these bans and on occasion, we may share that building, in our case of an indoor sport, with more than one sport. in our case, it could be cross fit, could be gymnastics, could be taekwondo, wrestling. there's an issue of whether they're banned from not just our sport but others. that carries with the safe sport
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center where a ban is recognized across the olympic but occasionally the ban is not recognized in other sports. we've been fortunate to work with two key nonolympic sports to recognize those bans, which has helped in that but there remains issues to be worked on, on the local level, to ensure that an individual banned in one sport cannot participate in youth sport in either another organization that sanctions that sport or in another sport. >> others? >> i'm currently not aware of any of our banned coaches that are still employed at a club. >> what's your tool to make sure that is true or remains true? >> again, we certainly, obviously, have this list on our website but once a coach is banned, we do contact the club directly. >> and your impression, your testimony is that clucbs honor that ban and would not hire or discharge one of those vim
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individuals. >> in order for them to be a head coach or a coach, they have to be a member usa swimming so once they're banned, that club is prohibited from hiring them. >> and the consequence to the club if they don't follow that ban? what's the result? >> i don't have the exact answer to that so i would like to get back to you. having said that, my speculation would be that we have the ability to throw them out as members of would you say. usa swimming. >> one of the questions that was suggested to me by my staff as related to this topic and then part of that question is if the club relinquishes or has their sponsorship removed, can they still operate without further repercussion? >> not to my knowledge in usa swimming. i'm not sure if they can join a different swimming organization across the country but certainly not usa swimming. >> mr. steele or ms. cammett? >> we would have a similar process where they would be sanctioned from our official
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grievance process and would not be able to hold any events, u.s. figure skating events. >> don't really have clubs that -- >> okay. >> relate to this. >> in talking about the banned employee, coach, trainer list, tell me how your ngb maintains that list and how does it interact with the list at the center for usa sport? >> in all case, we display it in our website and within e-mails to our membership. that covers not just safe sport but also anti-doping and ethical violations, and it's -- it has a direct link to the center as well so if you -- banned in other sports. >> and we're similar. we have it on display on our website, and then we have the, actually, details of what rules were violated and then we do have a connection to safe sport to be able to look at the list there. >> similar, we display it publicly and it's connected to the u.s. center for safe sport.
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>> in the event that we get banned individual, we will do the same. >> tell me about any efforts to implement complete background checks. what's going on in your world in that regard? >> from a usa swimming perspective, we do mostly recurring background checks and all 50,000 nonathlete members so that's roughly 600,000 checks a year. >> and then we have some -- all our professionals have to, those that teach skating at our rinks and all day undergo a yearly background check and then also anyone that's in a position of authority, which could be our board, the staff at u.s. figure skating, our team leaders, our medical, our officials. >> very similar. we take a yearly recurring background check that you must have that background check before contact with athletes and
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that goes up to the board, the staff, the committees but also officials as ms. cammett's indicated. >> all new hires go through the background check and then on an annual basis, all employees. >> we've had -- in response to my questions, we've talked about the banned list and we've talked about background checks. how recent a development are those procedures in relationship to the larry nassar case? are these things that have transpired since then? >> in our case, no. we've had wide background checks, and i apologize because i wasn't here at the time, since either 2010 or 2011. we did expand them to include board members, committee members, staff, and other people in 2017, but of the sports medicine and coach level, they've been mandatory since that time. >> since 2008, we've required the professionals to have a
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background check and just recently, we have expanded it to, as mr. andrews mentioned as well, the board, the staff, and other officials. >> this has all been a place at usa swimming. safe sport started in 2010 and then after an independent report, many of these took place starting from 2014. >> and we introduced just the annual recurring background checks as it related to the implementation of safe sport. >> how frequently does a background check result in the termination of an employee? or a member of your board? >> it has not happened to us yet. >> i don't have that information but i can get it for you, senator. >> thank you. >> i don't believe we've had any terminated but i'll get that information for you. >> we have had one that failed a background check prior to employment who is no longer
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employed. >> let me ask just my -- i think this may be my final question. i'll see if there's suggestions from staff, something we need to cover before we conclude the hearing but i've always made a practice of asking the witnesses in front of our subcommittee if they have anything they want to relate to us that hasn't been asked or something they'd like to further explain or correct. anything you want to make sure that we hear or that is included in the committee's record? >> i would certainly echo the statements, i think, that mr. andrews discussed about, is there an opportunity for us as we gather everyone together to make sure that our athletes are safe. so, again, congress, the national governing bodies, the u.s. center for safe sport, is there an opportunity to look at a model like you saw that i know took some years to get organized that has made a real difference and i can tell you, usada has been fantastic, we were able to utilize for anti-doping, so if
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there's a chance to work along those lines, i think that would be very useful. >> i'd just like to add and echo mr. hinchey's comment, but additionally, the factor of the looking at the way that law enforcement work with this particular challenges that come with olympic sport, we compete all over the world. incidents may happen at both interstate but also internationally. it's important that law enforcement as well as the u.s. center for safe sport is able to respond to that. i think proactive measures. we can, none of us in this room, we can never promise that sexual abuse will never happen again. impossible to promise that. what is critical is how we respond, how we respond to our athletes and how we respond to individual coming forward with a report, and i think not only how we respond to that from an investigation standpoint but how we respond to that for the care of the athlete, mainly in the authority we mentioned by senator capito around mental health and counseling, rather
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than sports psychology, counseling for those athletes is a very vital service that many ngbs and the u.s. olympic committee are looking to implement. is it your belief that if an athlete reported to someone in authority, a coach, a trainer, a member of your board, to you, are you -- with a great deal of certainty convinced that it would result in further investigation and not be treated the way that the reports of victims of survivors had in regard to dr. nassar? >> yes, but i believe it's -- that we have to create a culture where they are willing to come forward to one if not more than one person within each of those organizations and to make sure that more than one person is available to that individual. >> you're comfortable that that would be the truth in your case, ms. cammett? >> yes. >> mr. hinchey. >> i would certainly say yes to myself and members of -- i would
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like to think most of the members of the board, clearly. having said that, it hasn't worked with coaches, clearly, so the center has to work. we need to have a culture of reporting, we need to find a place that people feel comfortable and it doesn't have to be their coach. it needs to be an independent opportunity where they feel safe. >> yes. >> has your world changed since the nassar allegations and conviction? >> yes, it has. i mean, i think a lot of it is the awareness that this has brought and the ability to talk about it. you know, when i was young, it's not something you would talk about, and now the climate has changed, and we have the ability to educate and let people know that they can come forward. >> it's changed for the better. we need to get on this. >> it is -- i've said this in other hearings but it is the most discouraging thing to me. i've always said i don't think i know anyone that if someone brought them an allegation, a report of sexual abuse, i don't
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think i know anyone who wouldn't do something with that, even if they didn't know the victim. and i'm still trying to figure out how that occurred in so many instances in the olympic community. i believe we're done with this hearing. i appreciate the testimony that you have provided today and the response to our questions. a number of committee members asked for written response, and we'll pursue that. i appreciate what was said about the courage to -- the awareness, the indication that the -- there's a different awareness in today's world. that's only a result of the individuals in this room who were -- who are survivors, who have been willing to report, and we've met a lot of those young men and women over the last ten months, and i, again, appreciate their willingness to do what they did in order to protect others. i think the most compelling
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issue that -- the most compelling question that i've heard in my conversations and in these hearings is the question of why was there more than one? and that, to me, is the goal that we have in trying to change the culture, as you describe it, but also making certain that the laws that we create are appropriate and useful and prevent this behavior. this hearing record will remain open for two weeks. during the time, senators are asked to submit any questions for the record. upon receipt, they are asked to submit their written answers. i appreciate the cooperation of all my committee members in today's hearing and the hearing is now adjourned.
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tonight on c-span3, american history tv in primetime looks
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back 100 years at german u-boat campaigns during world war i, starting with ship wreck diver dave summers. american history tv in primetime starts at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. this weekend on american history tv, on c-span3, saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures in history, indiana university bloomington professor steven andrews on conspiracy culture in american history and how conspiracy theories have changed over time. >> now, is it a problem in america that people have a secret society at yale, that -- and with yale's connection to the intelligence community, is it a problem that they gather in places that are defined as secret, the bohemian grove,
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right? is it a problem that they are there without press, meeting and chatting. maybe, maybe not. is it a problem that they put on robes on one of the first days and have a ceremony in front of a giant statue of an owl in which they burn a human effigy at a ceremony called the cremation of care? i mean, it's weirder, right? >> and sunday at 4:30 p.m., former iowa senator tom harken, author of the americans with disabilities act, explores the history of laws that have impacted americans with disabilities as well as several key supreme court cases. >> one good decision in 1999 called olmstead versus vlc, it was a georgia case. again, it was two women who were put in an institution, and they had argued that they didn't want to be there, that they should be free to live on their own out in the community, and this made its
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way all the way to the supreme court. and the supreme court sided with them. it said, yeah. the constitution, the least restrictive environment is a constitutionally based right of persons with disabilities. imagine that. >> and at 6:00, on american artifacts, we travel to france to visit key battlefields and monuments to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of world war i, including a visit to the forest for the story of the lost battalion. >> there are 554 men who are cut off from the main body of the division. they're from two different regiments, the 307th and the 308th infantry, and they're mixed companies. they're led by major charles whittle. he's an attorney from wall street. the germans are surrounding them from the hills here and firing. wh


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