by Tim Joyce and Irvin Muchnick
In what Congressional analysts see as another sign of the growing interest of federal legislators in the scandal of widespread youth coach sexual abuse and cover-up in USA Swimming, Representative George Miller, a California Democrat, today asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate youth athletic clubs’ handling of child abuse allegations.
Miller, senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said he was taking this step “in light of recent reports of sex abuse of student athletes at the hands of coaches.” Miller seeks to expand an ongoing GAO investigation, launched at his request last year, into the weaknesses in reporting laws and policies in the wake of other scandals, most notably the one involving Jerry Sandusky and Penn State.
Miller letter to the GAO’s comptroller general, Gene L. Dodaro, said in part:
“Recent reports about the abuse of student athletes participating in public and private swim clubs have raised a number of new concerns about whether we have adequate laws and policies in place to prevent and address such abuse. Accordingly, I write today to supplement my July 2012 request to include information about the prevalence of abuse among student athletes and the manner in which such abuse cases are reported, investigated and resolved.”
For the last year, Concussion Inc. has been calling for a Congressional investigation of USA Swimming, with special reference to overhauls of the statutory authority given to national sports governing bodies, through the U.S. Olympic Committee, by the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.
In talking publicly about their histories of sexual abuse by respectively, coaches Rick Curl and Mitch Ivey, former swimmers Kelley Davies Currin and Suzette Moran have advocated Congressional intervention. They were joined by the editorial page of The Washington Post. Congressman Miller’s action today is the most affirmative step yet in that direction.