U.S. Center For SafeSport Unable To Use Federal Funds For Abuse Probes
A growing sex-abuse problem in Olympic sports has "led to a steady stream of Congressional hearings and a three-year grant" worth $2.2M, yet "not a penny of those federal funds can be used to fight the actual problem: investigating or resolving more than 800 open cases, many brought by victims themselves," according to Eddie Pells of the AP. That leaves an "ever-growing backlog for the U.S. Center for SafeSport." SafeSport CEO Shellie Pfohl said, "We didn't realize until the (bid instructions for the grant) came out that we would not be able to use it for performing investigations. Clearly, that is a need, and we are continuing to look for more robust funding, both from government sources, as well as from outside of government." Pells noted the $2.2M represents a "significant infusion" for an office operating on $6.4M in '18. But according to the rules of the Justice Department grant awarded last month, it "must all be directed toward prevention and education programs, and for auditing national governing bodies' work in sex-abuse prevention." A spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), who chairs the Senate subcommittee hearings investigating the handling of the Larry Nassar scandal by USA Gymnastics and the USOC, said that the panel is "reviewing whether the center needs additional resources." But the spokesperson "could not explain the reason the grant was written the way it was." The USOC provides $3.1M a year for SafeSport (AP, 11/8).