The U.S. Justice Department is conducting criminal investigations throughout the U.S. Olympic sports system for sexual abuse and for possible financial and business misconduct, according to published reports Friday.
The multiple probes come with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics less than a year away, The Wall Street Journal reports, and follow the multiple sexual-abuse convictions of former national gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.
According to the Journal, the Justice Department's money-laundering and child-exploitation divisions and the U.S. attorney's office in Washington sent grand-jury subpoenas earlier this year to a range of entities.
These include the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a nonprofit established in 2017 to address reports of abuse in Olympic sports.
Prosecutors and investigators from the Internal Revenue Service have spoken with potential witnesses in recent months concerning alleged abuse and misconduct in Olympic sports organizations, including USA Gymnastics and USA Taekwondo.
The Journal based its report on "people familiar with the investigations."
The investigations appear to be examining "failures in the Olympic system, writ large, to respond to signs of widespread child abuse," a person familiar with the probes told the Journal.
More broadly, the federal agencies are investigating whether aspiring athletes — "many underage" — are "at the mercy of coaches, governing bodies and the USOPC itself," which amounts to exploitation resulting from "power dynamics."
In addition, investigators are zeroing in on former executives of USA Gymnastics, USA Taekwondo and other governing bodies for their handling of abuse cases and for "potentially unethical conduct in the course of their official duties," two sources told the Journal.
"Every instance related to potential or actual abuse of athletes warrants thorough investigation," USOPC spokesman Mark Jones told the newspaper. "We have cooperated with all government inquiries and will continue to do so."
Representatives of the Justice Department and U.S. attorney's office in Washington declined to comment.
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