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House passes bill requiring reporting of abuse in amateur sports

By Daniel Uria
House passes bill requiring reporting of abuse in amateur sports
The House passed a bill, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (L), requiring mandatory reporting of alleged sexual abuse in amateur sports within 24 hours. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Monday requiring mandatory reporting of alleged sexual abuse in amateur sports within 24 hours.

The bill passed by a vote of 406 to 3 and will also increase training requirements for coaches and others involved with amateur sports to prevent sexual abuse.

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In addition, the adult who is subject to the allegation of abuse against a minor will be prohibited from interacting with minors until the investigation closes.

Under the bill, the United States Center for SafeSport will be responsible for investigating potential reports of abuse.

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The legislation will apply to 46 amateur sports with governing bodies recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee, including gymnastics, figure skating, basketball, football, swimming, and track and field.

The bill comes after former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison Wednesday after sexually abusing more than 140 of his patients.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collins , R-Maine, introduced a version of the bill that passed through the Senate in March 2017.

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Feinstein met with Nassar's victims a month before and said it was one of the "most disturbing, emotional" meetings during her 25-year career in the Senate.

Rep. Susan Brooks, who also introduced a version of the bill that passed in the House in May 2017, called the abuse of athletes by authority figures such as coaches tragic.

"Tragically we've also learned that many of our athletes have been subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of those who were supposed to be supporting them reach their Olympic goals," she said.

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Feinstein said she is hopeful the Senate will be able to pass the bill as early as Tuesday, in advance of the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics on Feb. 9.

"Passage of our bill wouldn't have been possible without the courage of women who came forward to share their deeply painful experiences," she wrote on Twitter. "Today is their day."

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