USA Figure Skating Sexual Abuse
Many sports organizations are finally being held accountable for permitting and even encouraging a culture of sexual abuse among sports coaches and athletes – crimes that have been covered up for decades. For example, one organization, USA Figure Skating, was recently at the center of a lawsuit that settled for $1.45 million based on its failure to protect young athletes from sexual abuse by a predatory coach. Sadly, this is just one example of many in figure skating where athletes are sexually abused and assaulted by their coaches.
If you are a former figure skater who experienced sexual abuse by anyone associated with USA Figure Skating, please contact Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for a free legal consultation with our attorneys. We are one of the top sexual abuse and assault law firms in the country. Our law firm can help you seek justice, closure and the compensation that you deserve for sexual abuse in figure skating.
What Constitutes Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse is a crime that refers to any type of unwanted sexual advances by one party against another. It can refer to physical, verbal and visual abuse and harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual abuse can result in long-lasting issues for survivors, including mental health problems, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies and self-harm.
In many sports, including figure skating, survivors do not initially recognize sexual abuse, as it is often disguised as a normal or necessary part of their training. Coaches use their positions of power to take advantage of athletes – especially minors – who do not know any better. Yet all the following actions and behaviors constitute sexual abuse in figure skating:
- Any inappropriate touching
- Any type of sexual contact with a minor
- The touching of private parts, including a female’s breasts
- Groping or fondling of an athlete
- Hugging or kissing between a coach and figure skaters
- Inappropriate massages
- Explicit text messages or photographs
- Requests for sexual favors by a coach
Sexual abuse in figure skating goes beyond individual perpetrators and into the institutions that allow sexual abuse to continue unfettered. Overarching institutions such as USA Figure Skating and the US Olympics have a legal responsibility to protect its athletes. Unfortunately, these institutions have a history of knowingly ignoring and failing to report allegations of sexual abuse and assault by coaches. Their inaction in the face of these heinous crimes has led to a rampant culture of child abuse in sports programs, including the US Figure Skating Association.
A History of Sexual Abuse in USA Figure Skating
A recent lawsuit involving sexual abuse in figure skating named the US Figure Skating Association, former coach Donald James Vincent and two Los Angeles County ice skating facilities as defendants. This lawsuit, brought by Manly, Stewart & Finaldi on behalf of a survivor known as John S. Doe, alleges that from 2007 to 2008, Vincent sexually abused the victim when he was just 11 years old. Vincent did this through the guise of sleepovers that would allegedly make it easier for the plaintiff to focus on his ice-skating training.
The lawsuit asserts that the US Figure Skating Association – as well as the ice rinks where Vincent worked – knew about Vincent’s inappropriate conduct with minors yet failed to report the coach to the authorities, as required by law. The attorney on this case, Vince Finaldi, held that these associations knew about the sexual misconduct for years but failed to protect John S. Doe from this monster. Coach Vincent has since been convicted and imprisoned for child molestation. This lawsuit is just one of multiple examples of figure skating organizations failing to protect their athletes, including vulnerable children.
Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers Can Help
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by someone connected to USA Figure Skating, please contact Manly, Stewart & Finaldi right away to discuss your legal options during a free and private case review. We care about abused athletes and are aggressive in protecting our clients during civil lawsuits. Find out how we can help you. Call our West Coast office at (855) 944-0710 or contact us online today to learn more during a confidential case review.