Gymnastic Coaches and Sexual Abuse – A Widespread Problem

Gymnastic Coaches and Sexual Abuse – A Widespread ProblemGymnastics is one of the more popular extracurricular activities for children. It’s an activity they can start early in life and continue through high school, college, and – for some athletes – move on to national or international competition. However, as we’ve seen with USA Gymnastics and the Larry Nassar case, competitive gymnastics is undergoing a reckoning as stories of abuse continue to surface.

If your child suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a gymnastics coach or trainer, it is highly unlikely they are alone. Often, these coaches take advantage of their positions of authority to abuse the young girls and boys under their care, sometimes committing assault on multiple occasions. The Larry Nassar/USA Gymnastics case shows that sexual abuse can go unchecked for years, with victims numbering in the dozens before a predator is caught and tried for their crimes.

Recognizing the signs of gymnastics coach/trainer abuse

Gymnastics requires training, practice, and travel – especially for talented and competitive athletes. For many tweens and teens, this means spending a lot of one-on-one time with trainers, coaches, and team doctors. As a parent or guardian, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse, as many kids are either afraid to speak up or even threatened into silence.

Sex abuse by a gymnastics coach or other authority figure takes both a physical and emotional toll on a child that may symptomize in a few different ways. The Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) warns of the following behaviors that may indicate your child has experienced sexual abuse:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Avoiding people or things associated with the abuse
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Engaging in unhealthy behaviors like substance abuse, self-harm, or suicidal ideations
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

If your child is displaying any of these behaviors, you may have a reason to be concerned.

Protecting your child from predatory coaches

Sex crimes against children are among the worst crimes an individual can commit, and our attorneys take this into account when seeking compensatory damages. We hold the guilty party or parties accountable and seek damages for:

  • Costs of medical treatment, including psychological counseling and treatment
  • Pain and suffering from the abuse
  • All out-of-pocket expenses related to your case

Here in South Carolina, the statute of limitations for sex abuse crimes is six years after the victim reaches the age of 21, or three years after the victim becomes aware of the abuse.

Our law firm strongly believes that gymnasts and athletes of all ages deserve an environment free of abuse and sexual assault. We also believe that predatory coaches must not only be held accountable for their crimes, but that the institutions that protect them should also be brought to justice. Our goal is to stop this behavior where it begins – at the top.

The sexual assault attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC protect young victims of abuse from coaches and trainers. We provide compassionate and confidential representation, and are ready to listen to your story. If you would feel more comfortable speaking with a female attorney, we will arrange it for you. To schedule your free consultation with one of our South Carolina attorneys, call 803-327-7800, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.