June 22, 2021

Former Olympic Coach Says U.S.A. Gymnastics Mishandled a Complaint Against Him

Kevin Mazeika, a longtime fixture in American gymnastics who coached the USA males’s group at three Olympics, stated his repute has been irreparably broken by U.S.A. Gymnastics due to the carelessness with which it has dealt with a present misconduct declare towards him.

He stated U.S.A. Gymnastics’ overzealousness to publicly disgrace anybody accused of any wrongdoing and its presumption of guilt are emblematic of the federation’s desperation to win again public belief after the Lawrence G. Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Mazeika, the lads’s nationwide group program coordinator from 2009-16, stated he’s being investigated by the U.S. Heart for SafeSport for a declare that he didn’t report little one abuse that allegedly occurred at his Houston fitness center. SafeSport is the impartial group with unique jurisdiction in the USA to analyze and resolve accusations of sexual misconduct in Olympic and Paralympic sports activities, and it generally additionally handles issues involving bodily and emotional abuse.

Mazeika’s lawyer, Russell Prince, stated Mazeika wasn’t even within the fitness center on the time and characterised the incident involving a younger lady as “a child who was taking part in round in a membership and obtained harm” and “a primary damage inside the context of the game.”

Robert Lapin, a lawyer for the gymnast, stated on Tuesday that the lady had sustained a critical again damage however that “there isn’t a allegation of any sexual abuse of any type with respect to my consumer, and saying that may be completely unfair and unfaithful.”

However even earlier than Mazeika was formally notified of the failure-to-report accusation by way of an e mail from SafeSport on Tuesday, U.S.A. Gymnastics had positioned him on its public listing of individuals going through misconduct allegations within the sport. His entry on that listing included no specifics of the case however carried the notation that he might haven’t any unsupervised contact with minors.

The wording of the itemizing and the dearth of element, Prince stated, sparked hypothesis among the many public that Mazeika was “some form of sexual abuser of kids.” Inaccurate information experiences that he had been suspended for misconduct solely made his state of affairs worse.

“I don’t know what to say besides that I’m shocked,” Mazeika stated in an interview on Tuesday, including that he had carried out nothing to warrant any sort of misconduct investigation. “Once I noticed, ‘No unsupervised contact with minors,’ I assumed, what on this planet is happening? I do know what these phrases counsel. The implications are horrific. It’s tremendously damaging and heartbreaking.”

He added that he “fully helps SafeSport in its necessary position to guard our athletes” and stated that “U.S.A. Gymnastics did this to me in an effort to look good” after the Nassar case revealed widespread abuse within the sport. Nassar, a former United States gymnastics nationwide group physician, is serving what quantities to life in jail after molesting a whole bunch of women and girls below the guise of medical remedy. Within the wake of that scandal, U.S.A. Gymnastics confronted potential decertification by the USA Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and the federation filed for chapter safety due to a mess of Nassar-related civil claims.

When requested about Mazeika’s case, Carol Fabrizio, a spokeswoman for the governing physique, responded in a textual content message that the group couldn’t remark intimately as a result of it seeks “to protect the integrity of the method and the privateness of all contributors.” Daniel Hill, a spokesman for SafeSport, declined to remark as a result of the group doesn’t talk about particular instances.

Prince, Mazeika’s lawyer, stated individuals, together with a lawyer representing many Nassar victims, this week have posted on social media suggesting that Mazeika was simply one other Nassar. But U.S.A. Gymnastics did nothing to right the file, Prince stated.

He added, “This can be a one hundred pc fail, and the fact of the state of affairs is that they have a algorithm that doesn’t successfully work.”

The SafeSport investigation of Mazeika entails an 8-year-old lady who faults two tumbling and trampoline coaches at Houston Gymnastics Academy in Texas for injuring her throughout post-training session play final September. Mazeika is president of the fitness center, however he didn’t coach her, Prince stated. Neither of the coaches straight concerned within the state of affairs — Oybek Mamataliyev and George Mamataliyev — may very well be reached for remark. Each stay on U.S.A. Gymnastics’ suspended and restricted listing.

Mazeika stated he obtained a letter in November from the lady’s lawyer, informing him that the lawyer had been retained to pursue any authorized claims. The date of the reported damage strains up with the date of the failure-to-report declare that was filed with SafeSport.

Prince stated that Mazeika was below no obligation to report a typical fitness center damage to SafeSport or to regulation enforcement, and that assets have been being wasted on a baseless declare that’s “by no means a difficulty for SafeSport.” He additionally criticized U.S.A. Gymnastics’ determination to position any interim restrictions on Mazeika when the coach was not accused of abusing any athletes, and thus was not an imminent hazard to them.

These interim measures, he stated, have been only for present, contemplating teaching guidelines already dictate that coaches can’t be alone with unrelated minors.

On Tuesday, SafeSport modified U.S.A. Gymnastics’ order that Mazeika not have unsupervised contact with minors at a U.S.A. Gymnastics membership or sanctioned occasion, and that he not be of their presence with out one other grownup there. As an alternative, it barred him from touring with a minor athlete, teaching athletes with out the supervision of one other grownup, and having one-on-one unsupervised contact with athletes.

Mazeika stated that he was already required to comply with these guidelines as a U.S.A. Gymnastics coach and that the entire state of affairs was an instance of the federation’s failures to deal with instances pretty.

“Quite a lot of actually good coaches live in worry and are strolling on eggshells on a regular basis as a result of it is a one-way avenue proper now,” he stated. “We perceive that there are unhealthy those who have to be taken to the ground, however proper now you could possibly elevate a child to the excessive bar and be reported, or you could possibly be reported due to the way in which you take a look at a child. And that’s not proper.”

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