Congress passed legislation on Monday with the aim of averting a repeat of the sexual assault crisis that was perpetrated by Larry Nassar for 20 years. The emerging climate of secrecy and silence that also ensnared Michigan State spurred Congress to act quickly.
The passed House bill would require amateur athletic governing bodies to report abuse claims to law enforcement and pushed the statute of limitations for victims to sue to the age of 28, or 10 years after victims have become legal adults. If passed into law, the penalty for failing to report suspected sex abuse would result in a one-year sentence.
In addition, the bill also requires the United States Center for Safe Sport to develop strict guidelines and policies to create a safe environment for young athletes to train in and prevent sexual misconduct.
The extent of Nassar’s abuse and the United States Olympic Committee’s obliviousness was magnified by testimony from 156 of Nassar’s victims in a court room earlier this month. Congressmen also cited the endless testimony from gymnasts as an impetus for the bill.
Via USA Today Sports:
“How a serial predator like Dr. Nassar could have preyed on so many young girls for a long time in such a flagrant fashion is appalling,” said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.
“All they wanted to do was to make us proud. All they wanted to do was show the strength of women and the resolve of women,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.
Although there were a of disconnected state laws that required institutions to report suspected sexual abuse, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, a sponsor of the bill said that this law’s passage is necessary to create a national standard.
The legislation passed the House of Representatives by a 406-3 vote. Next, the Senate will vote before it will head to President Trump’s desk to be enacted into law.