Peters Helps Senate Pass Bipartisan Bill that Includes His Provision to Protect Amateur and Olympic Athletes From Abuse

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate 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 – 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. “I was pleased to help pass this legislation out of the Senate. I’ll continue working to hold institutions accountable and ensure that survivors are protected when they come forward with reports of abuse.”

The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act will 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 Congress to protect athletes and young adults from abuse. 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. Peters has also criticized former leaders at Michigan State University (MSU) for their failure to support the victims of Larry Nassar and William Strampel, and supported the findings of a recently concluded federal investigation into MSU’s conduct surrounding those cases.