10.01.20

House Passes Peters’ Bipartisan Provision to Protect Amateur & Olympic Athletes From Abuse, Heads to President’s Desk to be Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed sweeping bipartisan legislation to reform the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and protect Olympic and amateur athletes from abuse. The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act – which U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) helped pass in the Senate – includes Peters’ bipartisan amendments to ensure Olympic and amateur athletes can report abuse anonymously. This legislation was introduced following the findings of systemic abuse within the U.S. Olympic movement and the sexual abuse of former U.S. Olympic and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar.

“What happened at both the U.S. Olympic Committee and at Michigan State can never happen again. The culture of abuse and negligence that allowed a monster like Larry Nassar to prey on young athletes must be eradicated,” said Senator Peters. “We must hold institutions accountable and ensure that survivors are protected when they come forward with reports of abuse. After helping shape and pass this bipartisan legislation in the Senate, I’m pleased the House has advanced this important bill and hope it will soon become law.”

The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act would implement measures to promote a culture that puts the safety and interests of athletes first, ensure greater transparency and accountability and reinforce the independence and authority of the U.S. Center for SafeSport—the body responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse against athletes and coaches. Peters’ bipartisan amendment makes clear that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee establishes a confidentiality and privacy policy for athletes and employees that come forward to speak about any issues and wrongdoing. Peters also authored an additional amendment included in the bipartisan legislation that requires the USOPC to hire a third party entity to conduct an annual anonymous survey of active USOPC athletes on their comfort level with their relevant organization and the USOPC as a whole.

Peters has supported numerous efforts in the Senate to protect athletes and young adults from abuse. Among those efforts, last year Peters urged his colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation he reintroduced to require leaders of universities that receive federal funding to certify they have reviewed any reports of sexual abuses perpetrated by university employees.

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