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After Bobby Dodd sex abuse claims, AAU launches task forces

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The AAU may be reeling, but it isn't going down without a fight.

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AAU president Louis Stout (John Raoux/AP)

AAU president Louis Stout (John Raoux/AP)

In a stark contrast to recent sexual assault cases at the collegiate level, AAU President Louis Stout announced on Wednesday that the organization was commissioning two separate task forces comprised of child safety and law enforcement experts to look into the organization's standards for protecting its young athletes.

The two task forces come as a direct result of allegations of decades old sexual molestation by former AAU president Robert "Bobby" Dodd. As reported by the Associated Press and a variety of other news sources, three men have come forward to claim that Dodd sexually molested them when they were still AAU basketball players in a variety of states. The Memphis Police Department has launched its own investigation into the allegations, with the possibility of charges against Dodd, who is suffering from colon cancer.

According to Stout, Dodd requested retirement from the AAU in recent weeks but that request has since been denied, and any and all connections between Dodd and the AAU have since officially been severed.

"We will never be complacent about doing everything possible to ensure the safety of every young person in our programs," Stout said in his official statement. "We're reaching out to some of the best and most credible experts in their fields for recommendations to establish a new, best and highest standard for any organization devoted to the well-being of children."

One of the two task forces being set up by the AAU will be led by Chris Newlin, the Executive Director of the National Child Advocacy Center and Lauren Book, the founder of child sexual abuse foundation Lauren's Kids. Meanwhile, law enforcement experts Tim Moore and Dr. Jim Sewell will lead a second task force which will focus on how the AAU can improve its screening techniques used on coaches, volunteers and any other adults who come into contact with teens on the AAU circuit.

It's unknown whether the new task forces will be able to inaugurate substantial change for the AAU, but one thing is certain: The organization's rapid and aggressive response won't go unnoticed by an American public still notably disenchanted with the responses put up by Penn State and Syracuse in the aftermath of their own respective coaching sexual abuse scandals.

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