In a case involving Olympic aspirant girls being molested by their martial arts coach for years, the California Supreme court ruled that the sporting organizations must protect their athletes from sexual and other kinds of abuses.
California SC ruled that the USA Taekwando could be held liable. However, the court cleared the USA Olympic and Paralympic committee Attorney Stephen Estey representing former taekwondo competitors said that the ruling would better protect young athletes from sexual abuse by holding sporting organizations responsible.
“The thing that’s been frustrating over the years is that these entities make money off the backs of all these athletes. They make millions of dollars on these athletes, but they do nothing to protect them. They want all the benefit and none of the burdens,” Estey said, according to the Associated Press.
Estey also expressed disappointments over the court not holding the Olympics and Paralympics committee responsible.
The ruling came in a lawsuit suit by three women taekwondo athletes who had been abused for years by the coach when they were minors.
The three previously had won a $60 Million judgment against their abuser Marc Gitelman in 2017. However, they were unsatisfied with the decision as the trial court failed to hold the governing bodies of the sports, USA Taekwando and the USA Olympics and Paralympics Committee, responsible.
The Olympic Committee has issued a statement saying it has undertaken steps to protect amateur athletes.
“While this is a significant finding, and sets a standard for other cases, we are committed to playing an important role in leading the Olympic and Paralympic community in better-protecting athletes, and preventing and addressing abuse wherever it may occur,” the USOPC said.