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Details of the Allegation of Unreported Sexual Abuse Against US Ski & Snowboard
According to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a watchdog organization authorized by Congress to police issues related to sexual abuse in U.S. amateur sports, three former athletes and a former employee of U.S. Ski & Snowboard have accused former longtime head coach Peter Foley of sexual misconduct including:
- sexual assault;
- unwanted kissing and touching; and,
- coercing them into taking nude photos.
These women allegedly have had to tolerate sexual misconduct for a considerable length of time because they feared Foley would retaliate by withholding Olympic opportunities or terminating their employment.
Also, the US Ski & Snowboard operated within a team culture that was celebrated for its party-like atmosphere and informal traveling style.
Male athletes and coaches, including Foley, could basically do whatever they wanted while sharing lodging with their female counterparts.
It has also been alleged that U.S. Ski & Snowboard has actively provided misinformation to individuals involved in investigations in an effort to discourage participation.
Instances of Sexual Assault Demonstrate Failure of US Ski & Snowboard to Protect Athletes and Employees
ESPN spearheaded an investigation into the instances of sexual assault leveled at Peter Foley and US Ski & Snowboard.
Just a few of the instances of unreported sexual assault include:
- After participating in a US training camp, a 19 year-old female athlete was sexually assaulted by Foley as she slept in a bed with two other athletes.
- Lindsey Sine Nikola, a former US Ski & Snowboard employee, revealed that Foley coerced her into taking nude photographs and then later sexually assaulted her at a World Cup ski race in December 2008.
- Former Olympic snowboarder Callan Chythlook-Sifsof said Foley took “naked photos of female athletes for over a decade.”
“The reports shared by the Center are very troubling,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote in a letter to the US Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt.
“They allege that the US Ski & Snowboard leadership has been conducting its own investigation outside of the investigation being conducted by the Center, has failed to make notifications regarding sexual misconduct to the Center, and has failed to timely provide the Center with evidence in the possession of US Ski & Snowboard.”
SafeSport has exclusive jurisdiction over sexual misconduct in the US Olympic movement and has been investigating Foley since February.
SafeSport temporarily suspended Foley, 56, for allegations of misconduct on March 18–US Ski & Snowboard terminated him shortly after.
The Consumer Justice Action team believes that victims of unreported sexual abuse at the hands of US Ski & Snowboard, Peter Foley, and/or staff should get the compensation and justice they deserve.
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