Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Indiana lawmakers sponsor sexual abuse bill

May 21, 2017
In The News

ANDERSON — Three Indiana members of Congress have signed on as sponsors of legislation that will require amateur athletic governing bodies to report allegations of abuse to law enforcement agencies.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., have all sponsored legislation to protect young athletes from sexual abuse.

The legislation, which has bipartisan support in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, was prompted by an investigation by the Indianapolis Star that found that at least 368 young athletes were subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of coaches, doctors or other adults affiliated with USA Gymnastics.

The bills stem from recent allegations of sexual abuse made against personnel involved with USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo.

The House bill requires prompt reporting of suspected cases of abuse, mandatory training in and implementation of policies and procedures for preventing, reporting, and addressing allegations of sexual abuse at amateur athletic governing bodies.

The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act extends the mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse to national governing bodies to ensure that reports are immediately made to local or federal law enforcement authorities.

“As a former U.S. attorney, I worked on cases dealing with child exploitation and abuse, and I know first-hand how absolutely necessary it is that our laws protect the most vulnerable,” Brooks said. “Unfortunately, current law neglects to properly protect young athletes from abuse, but this legislation ensures that amateur athletic governing bodies promptly report allegations of sexual abuse and assault.”

Donnelly said the allegations against USA Gymnastics were uncovered by the extraordinary bravery of the young athletes.

“We have your back,” he said. “We’re here to level the playing field.”

Donnelly said USA Gymnastics failed to report all the allegations to authorities.

“These are women in a difficult situation,” he said. “It involved their dreams and hopes as they looked to the future.”

Young said at times every parent entrusts their children to other adults.

“Society let them down,” he said. “This is a bipartisan way to ensure future accountability and bring about immediate reporting reform.”