Sex Trafficking Scandal Strikes US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Others: Report

Once again, controversy and scandal have stricken the U.S. Olympics. And once again, that controversy involves monstrous allegations of sexual assault, exploitation and negligence. According to multiple reports, including Reuters and ESPN, several former members of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team have sued their former coach, Peter Foley, as well as U.S. Ski & Snowboard, its former CEO, Gale Shaw, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. The charges are very serious and include sex trafficking, harassment, and enabling and covering up repeated acts of sexual assault and misconduct, ESPN reported. The three women bringing forth charges include three-time Olympian and 2006 bronze medalist Rosey Fletcher, 2010 Olympian Callan Chythlook-Sifsof and former national team member Erin O’Malley. The suit was filed in Los Angeles. In it, allegations are made against Foley that he abused his position of trust and power with athletes to “coerce sexual acts through force, manipulation, emotional abuse, intimidation, and retaliation,” Reuters reported. In other words, these are allegations that are not wholly dissimilar from those made against former U.S. Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor Larry Nassar, whose monstrous acts preying upon young girls even sparked a father to lunge at him in court. The details of what were described as Foley’s actions are eerily and shockingly similar to Nassar’s. Fletcher claimed that Foley sexually assaulted her at a U.S. team camp when she was only 19, and again at a postrace event at the Olympics, according to ESPN. O’Malley claimed that she was “sexually assaulted and harassed at USSS- and USOPC-sponsored competitions by Foley, who exploited their unequal power dynamic.” The lawsuit claims that this abuse from Foley began when she was 15, and that Foley had sexually assaulted her in an elevator — in front of Fletcher, no less. “Foley began groping Erin and forcibly trying to kiss her — all without her consent,” the lawsuit said. “For nearly twenty years, coaches and executives at both organizations enabled Foley’s behavior, refused to act, and helped cover up Foley’s behavior, allowing him to continue his pattern of abuse.” Chythlook-Sifsof, meanwhile, claims that she was assaulted and raped by a male coach nearly three times her senior “from an opposing team” when she was only 16 in 2005. “Although it was not a USSS coach that sexually assaulted Callan, USSS set the stage for the assault to occur and failed to change the toxic environment,” the lawsuit said. The parties being accused largely provided no comment. “We are aware of the lawsuits that were filed,” a USSS spokesperson said. “U.S. Ski & Snowboard has not yet been served with the complaint nor has had an opportunity to fully review it.” “Any allegations of sexual misconduct being made against him are false. Mr. Foley has not engaged in any conduct that violates the SafeSport Code,” Foley’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, told ESPN in March 2022 when these allegations first began to arise. Unfortunately for the USOPC and the USSS, this isn’t the only lawsuit targeting them. Lindsey Nikola, a former USSS employee, filed a separate lawsuit against Foley, Shaw and USSS on Thursday, according to ESPN. Nikola alleges that Foley forced her to take nude photos and sexually assaulted her in hotel room on two separate occasions, while she was employed by the USSS. “Had the USSS taken the safety of their young athletes and employees seriously, Foley’s behavior could have been prevented,” the new lawsuits said. “Instead, for nearly twenty years, coaches and executives at USSS enabled Foley’s behavior, refused to act, and helped cover up Foley’s behavior, allowing him to continue his pattern of abuse.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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