Former gymnast Kelly Cutright claims she was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics coach William McCabe. The accusation was made public amid a legal battle over the organization’s “sexual misconduct files,” which reportedly contain complaints against more than 50 gymnastics coaches. Although the files are currently sealed, Kelly Cutright wants the information released to prevent future abuse.
The accusations against the USA Gymnastics coaches were discovered during an in-depth investigation conducted by the Indianapolis Star.
Although the investigation initially focused on how sexual abuse complaints are handled by day care centers and schools, the reporters soon learned an alarming number of sexual abuse complaints were filed against USA Gymnastics coaches. Even more disturbing, a majority of the complaints were never reported to authorities.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 27, 2016
William McCabe, for example, had complaints in his file dating back to 1997, when he was accused of exposing “his genitals to some gymnasts.” Between 1998 and 2006, the coach was also accused of making inappropriate sexual comments about the young girls he coached. However, the complaints were determined to be unfounded and McCabe continued coaching for USA Gymnastics.
The Rio Olympics may have come to a close, but the investigation into USA Gymnastics gross mishandling of the… https://t.co/MXlJ7CkVJ1
— The Center (@TheCenterforSA) August 26, 2016
In 1998, William McCabe was appointed to coach 13-year-old Kelly Cutright. According to the former gymnast, she initially resisted the coach’s sexual advances. However, as she feared for her life, and her career as a gymnast, she eventually gave in.
“Gymnastics was my whole world… He threatened to take all that away. That my teammates would lose everything, too. Everything would be my fault. He threatened his own life if I wouldn’t, in his words, be his girlfriend. And that was kind of, at that point I didn’t really resist anymore.”
According to Kelly Cutright, the sexual abuse lasted three years.
More than five years later, in 2006, William McCabe was arrested on charges of sexual abuse of children, sexual exploitation of children, and making false statements. Although he is now serving 30 years in prison, the parents of one of his victims filed a civil lawsuit against USA Gymnastics.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in 2013, USA Gymnastics was warned on numerous occasions that William McCabe was a sexual predator. However, because the complaints were never taken to the authorities and McCabe retained his coaching position, an 11-year-old girl was victimized by the coach.
Kelly Cutright is now asking for the organization’s sexual misconduct files, which are in the court’s possession, to be released to the public. In her opinion, “there’s no telling how many of those coaches are still coaching… there’s no telling how many of those kids could still be in danger.”
The Indianapolis Star reports at least four of the coaches, who were previously reported for sexual misconduct, “went on to abuse children.” USA Gymnastics is being blamed, as they “did not initiate a report to authorities” in any of the four cases.
According to reports, USA Gymnastics’ sexual misconduct files contain the names of 54 different coaches. However, the organization has refused to release the names citing their confidentiality policy.
During his deposition, former USA Gymnastics President Robert Colarossi explained that the organization, as a rule, does not report allegations of abuse to authorities unless they are “signed by a victim or victim’s parent.” Complaints filed by other parties are considered hearsay.
In an official statement, which was published by NewsMax, USA Gymnastics vehemently denied the allegations of negligence.
“Addressing issues of sexual misconduct has been important to USA Gymnastics for many years, and the organization is committed to promoting a safe environment for its athletes… USA Gymnastics… will continue to take every punitive action available within our jurisdiction, and cooperate fully with law enforcement.”
Former gymnast Kelly Cutright disagrees. In her opinion, USA Gymnastics’ refusal to release the names could lead to even more sexual abuse. Cutright said the organization has an obligation to protect children and teens from sexual abuse by accused predators.