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Upton Applauds Passage of Athlete Safety Legislation

Bipartisan bill holds national amateur athletic governing bodies to new and higher standards

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Washington, January 29, 2018 | Lynn Turner/Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761/269-385-0039) | comments

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, tonight applauded the passage of S. 534 the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation advanced by a vote of 406 to 3. Upton released the following statement:

“Our young athletes should be focused on training, competing, and winning – not sexual predators or heinous acts of abuse. The crimes committed by Dr. Larry Nassar are heartbreaking and intolerable. We must ensure something like this can never happen again. Unfortunately, under current law, amateur athletic governing bodies are not required to promptly report allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities. This is unacceptable. This bill will ensure when reports of abuse are made, they are investigated fully. This bipartisan bill will help keep our amateur athletes safe and it’s time to send it to the president’s desk. Time’s up for those wishing to prey on our young athletes.”

Background: The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 amends the Child Abuse Act of 1990 to require athletic governing bodies, such as USA Gymnastics, and individuals who interact with our amateur athletes to report any suspected abuse. Any individual who interacts with amateur athletes would be required to report suspected child abuse, including sexual abuse, within 24 hours. If they fail to do so, they will be held accountable by law. This legislation also designates the United States Center for Safe Sport, an entity created last year by the U.S. Olympic Committee that is responsible for overseeing organizational reforms, to develop, implement, and enforce policies and mandatory training for national governing bodies and their members. The House passed similar legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, in May.

Upton previously joined colleagues U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, and U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Michigan, in calling for a Congressional investigation into the Nassar case. The House Energy and Commerce Committee later announced a bipartisan investigation into sexual abuse in organized sports.
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