Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Todd Young (R-IN) today in introducing the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act, legislation that would require amateur athletics governing bodies to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department.
“There should be no excuse for anyone—particularly those in positions of authority and who are entrusted with the safety and well-being of young athletes—to fail to report the sexual abuse of children and young adults,” said Rubio. “Recent revelations about the USA Gymnastics program are deeply troubling, and it’s clear we must do more to strengthen protections for young athletes, ensure victims receive justice, and hold predators accountable.”
“Sexual abuse stays with victims their entire lives. Amateur athletic governing bodies, coaches, and personnel have a special obligation to do all they can to protect young athletes in their care,” said Feinstein. “All allegations of sex abuse must be promptly reported to local or federal law enforcement. Otherwise, they may not be treated with the seriousness that’s required.”
“Sexual abuse is a heinous crime that must be eradicated in every corner of our society,” said Collins. “I have long worked to prevent sexual assault and ensure that survivors have access to the resources and support they need. By requiring amateur athletic governing organizations to promptly report every allegation of sexual abuse to the proper authorities, this legislation will help survivors receive justice and protect more people from becoming victims.”
“Sexual abuse should never be tolerated. This bill helps to protect young athletes from such heinous crimes, and establishes a structure to help victims safely report abuses, which must then be relayed to the authorities,” said Grassley. “It also requires oversight of the training facilities to ensure that policies preventing sexual abuse are being taken seriously.”
The bill stems from recent allegations of sexual abuse made against personnel involved with USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo. It would also amend the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act, which governs amateur athletics governing bodies, to make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse and mandate oversight of member gymnasiums to ensure strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented. For example, USA Gymnastics would implement and enforce policies to ensure coaches and personnel are trained in sexual abuse prevention.
The bill is supported by numerous advocacy groups and victims of abuse.