Listen: Dept. of Justice Investigating Sexual Abuse in US Olympic Organizations
"Even with disgraced former Olympics gymnastics team doctor Larry Nasser sitting in prison likely for the rest of his life for decades of sexual abuse against young female gymnasts federal prosecutors are not finished with their work the Wall Street journal broke the story today that the justice department is pursuing multiple criminal investigations at several US Olympic sports organizations because people like Larry Nasser carried on years worth of abuse against young athletes under the noses of several coaches and administrators and there are arguments that the governing organizations should have done a lot more to stop the crimes Rebecca Davis o'brien the investigative reporter the Wall Street journal who broke the story so one of the key words in multiple investigations take is there some of what you want covered sure thanks for having me on yeah this is wide ranging and I think of it as a multi pronged set of investigations here involving money laundering unit child exploitation unit US trade office and Washington DC the IRS also public integrity unit at the justice department yet either investigators are looking at not just sexual you know it's sexual abuse and abuse Lympics sports organizations so we're talking about coaches and doctors that kind of thing but also at the Angie B. the net national governing body level and all the way up to the US Olympic committee and and it's sort of at the upper end of the Olympics system and I it's not just about the sexual abuse it's also about potential financial and business wrongdoing or misconduct by former executives at those levels and all I know or we can say for right now is that it's likely to include you know not they this is this is what they don't come it's not just misconduct and cover ups but also likely some financial our our business crimes are looking at as well this is gonna sound maybe like a weird question Rebeca but considering the scope of this is. anybody who didn't do something wrong well you know that's not for me to say but I think that it does suggested discontinuing legal pressure that faced you know by these organizations and there's still demand for answers and accountability for many of the victims and people who just watch this with with shock over the past two years Larry Nasser case really opened the door to a lot of stuff that I've been going on for decades in and here's and and and I think in many of the American public want to know like you know how it is going to so long who was involved in covering things up who turned a blind eye how is the Olympics and so popular and and so and so powerful well all of this stuff is going on behind the scenes and just to we've been trusting with used as you know for future of youth sports for so long it comes down to that power dynamics right I mean these are young athletes are kind of at the mercy of cultures or whoever it is is telling them what to do a and it's all overshadowed by what you know it looks on the outside to be just the Olympics sports with this is a billion dollar kind of system right I mean either is fine I did most of my reporting on USA gymnastics but this really applies across the board to youth sports an Olympic sport you have expiring athlete and our parents on many of whom are under age when they become a recognized for you know have for their great athletic gifts and they're all competing for a small number of spots in the Olympics and they are really as the road in the story if the mercy of coaches they're going to do what the coaches say that's part of what being a coach that coach athlete dynamic is and the governing bodies themselves and ultimately at the Olympic you know the US Olympic and Paralympic committee so what is that how to mimic really about and is there something exploitative inherently in that dynamic. these cases for potential cases involving female athletes anywhere to mail that's a good question I think I'd some of Nasser's victims I there were some mail on men who came forward in that hi and I can't answer that question I just because I don't have full visibility into the investigation but I certainly a lot of the cases that have come out in the past few years have been about women and not all of them are under age some of them are are women who are over eighteen and obviously did USA gymnastics as a new leadership now but this will probably also encompass people who have worked there and don't anymore because that was going on all this time correct me USA gymnastics has been almost completely gutted and and reefs reformed and yet there's been some people who follow other NGB is and that the USOC itself but this is just I don't think we've seen the end of the story and I think it's going to continue turned to continue on into the future and told people feel at this is been resolved I was gonna ask based on your reporting Rebecca do you think that there are now in place if not sufficient safeguard guards at least more safeguards against this sort of thing then there would have been in the past I you know again I I don't usually don't covered the sports so closely but I think what we do see is a lot of interest in the wake of Nasser's case a lot more visibility and a lot more fearlessness about coming forward but from what I understand they're still lots of can be worked out here I mean how how do you hold coaches accountable distaste for issue which we you know the whole other situation we can talk about another time but what are the obligations to report what it what to listen to this law enforcement and the national governing bodies you know they're I think they're a lot of questions that also PC in higher education issue cases of rape on campus I mean there's these are these are big question. about that I think nationally of dancers well you know I I think it's really a with the twenty twenty Olympics on the horizon I think there's a lot of pressure to make sure that things are cleaned up for and athletes going on behalf you know as America representing America I I hope I think that there is pressure a lot of pressure on the Olympic committee and on Angie beast takes to make sure they're safe what is the emotional toll been on the victims. well I you know I get I would want to speak to that I think part of this whole process has been really important is that these women and then our our speaking and that's their words not mine hi but I think that there's been a lot of one thing that I've noticed in my reporting at least and I found really interesting is that asked for so many of these of the of the young women that I spoke to for you right USA gymnastics on Larry Nasser it took them a long time to recognize that they had been abused and that what they were going through with more than was was was wasn't normal and and they should have your date they didn't recognize it at the time and I think that is there still a lot of soul searching and kind of trying to figure out how this all took place and how this happened and how they were low they how did but this is allowed to happen to them. Rebecca Davis o'brien investigative reporter the Wall Street journal who broke the story on the line with us Rachel den Hollander former Jim missed one of the first to come forward with her story of being abused by Larry Nasser has a new book what is girl worse my story breaking the silence exposing the truth about so Larry Nasser and USA gymnastics of your thoughts that this is still going on widespread investigations kind of across the board with the Olympic committee. yeah you know I wish I could say I was surprised but one of the greatest surprises that came out when I came forward publicly with the FBI statement that they had already been investigating Larry hi this is something I go into my memoir is just how much of an uphill battle it watch the fight institutions and organizations and even if the law enforcement agencies that have been putting children in harm's way for years that act in a position where I had the great publicly to wrest control from these organizations are also likely to help with this investigation is that we'll start getting some answers and that justice will finally be done you know Reza asking Rebecca Davison Brian from the Wall Street journal from her reporting what sort of emotional toll has this inflicted upon victims bed based on your own experience what sort of emotional toll has there been. one of the most painful thing out of coming forward recognizing that it wasn't just my abuser I could trust it was all of the authority figures that surrounded him yeah at at at seventeen when I began to realize what he had done that my mom this can't be done quietly. this is gonna have to be done very publicly and what we learned this process not that the case for the sixteen year was we discover that's exactly what was going on there were law enforcement agencies that for mishandling investigation or that were actually collaborating with the electricity and the head of your state you think having on reports of abuse allowing merry to continue abusing children for more than a year Intel I came forward I don't want him to marry that we had to fight it when these institutions and organizations that have shelter him including the very law enforcement agencies that we should have been able to report that should have been pursuing jacket on over her. and a reminder of how much we had to fight to get here let's say there's a a you in a in another sport right now the nose now the more people are asking questions has the story but is still afraid to talk to come forward what would you say to that athlete. that we send with you that you have an army now you know what I spoke publicly it was I was completely alone at that point in time but thanks to an investigator and a prosecutor he got on the flight all of them we were able to see the results that we found out after investigation it literally changed the world and we have an army now and people are listening and we"