Congress OKs bill stemming from athletes’ sexual abuse
Congress followed up on the sex-abuse scandal involving sports doctor Larry Nassar by passing legislation Monday that requires governing bodies for amateur athletics to promptly report abuse claims to law enforcement.
Nassar was sentenced last week to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 150 women and girls over 25 years.
The sentencing sparked new calls from lawmakers to complete action on legislation that already had received widespread support in both chambers of Congress. The House agreed to take up the Senate version of the bill to speed up its passage. The bill passed by a vote of 406-3 and went to President Donald Trump for his signature.
Supporters of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said a patchwork of state laws on reporting suspected sex abuse made it necessary to enact a uniform national standard that would apply to amateur sports groups such as USA Gymnastics as well as to other sports organizations that participate in interstate and international travel. The failure to report a sexual abuse allegation could lead to up to one year in prison.
Lawmakers who spoke in favor of the bill said that Nassar’s victims were failed by the people who were supposed to protect them.
“How a serial predator like Dr. Nassar could have preyed on so many young girls for a long time in such a flagrant fashion is appalling,” said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.