US Center for SafeSport Sued by Sexual Abuse Victims
The Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard sexual abuse legal team along with a group of nationally prominent attorneys are suing the US Center for SafeSport for failing to protect athletes. SafeSport was added as a defendant to the amended USOC sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
The lawsuit alleges that the sexual abuse investigations against Jean and Steve Lopez were suspended to allow the brothers to coach and compete in the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 US Championships.
Taekwondo champion Mandy Meloon first filed a complaint with USA Taekwondo (USAT), the organization authorized by the USOC to oversee the sport of taekwondo in the United States, in 2006. In her complaint to USAT, Meloon alleged that Jean Lopez had sexually assaulted her at a tournament in 1997. She was 16 at the time. While USA Taekwondo dismissed her claim at the time, SafeSport’s investigation in 2018 found it to have merit, and Jean Lopez was permanently banned on April 3, 2018.
Olympian Kay Poe Alleges Coaching Sexual Abuse
Joining the sexual abuse, forced labor, and sex trafficking lawsuit filed in May 2018 is 2000 Olympian Kay Poe. Poe became the youngest-ever member of the United States National Taekwondo team at age 14. She claims that coach Jean Lopez began sexually exploiting her and engaging in full sexual intercourse with her one year before the Olympics, a fact known to many in the USOC and USAT community.
“This matter concerns a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct by an older athlete/coach abusing his power to groom, manipulate and, ultimately, sexually abuse young female athletes,” said SafeSport in announcing its decision.
In August of 2018, SafeSport reversed itself by refusing to defend its permanent ban on Jean Lopez. As a result, Lopez was removed from the list of permanently banned coaches, allowing Lopez to have access to young female athletes once again.
“This case will conclusively demonstrate that SafeSport is a sham,” stated attorney Robert Allard, a member of the nationally prominent legal team representing the plaintiffs. “We have seen case after case highlighted by the recent decision to reinstate alleged serial predator Jean Lopez where SafeSport bends over backward to protect pedophile coaches and, as a consequence, the financial interests of the USOC and its NGB’s.”
In naming the US Center for SafeSport as a defendant in the lawsuit, SafeSport is alleged to have falsely stated that it is an independent body. Instead, the lawsuit claims SafeSport places the interests of the USOC and its National Governing Bodies ahead of athlete safety. The athletes bringing the lawsuit allege that SafeSport has a conflict of interest as a result of the USOC funding the group in its entirety.
If you have been sexually abused by a coach or authority figure as a result of your participation in club sports, please contact the sexual abuse attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard at 408-289-1417 to protect your legal rights. In an alliance with like-minded attorneys from around the country, your best interests will be protected and you gain the expertise of a legal team that has been working for nearly a decade to protect athletes from coaching sexual abuse and to hold the USOC and its National Governing Bodies accountable for placing medals and money over athlete safety. You may also email us for a confidential and no-cost evaluation of your claim.