The Warrior Ledger

Sexual harassment in sports is real

Laws on sexual harassment should be extended to athletics

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Dallen Cameron, Sports Editor

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Sexual assault in sports takes on a unique approach because of the power relationships established with coaches and because of the necessary focus on athletes’ bodies.

Laws on sexual harassment should be extended to apply to sporting activities, if not already covered by general non-discrimination laws or through employment, education, or goods and services legislation.

Larry Nassar is a disgraced ex-olympian coach who worked with the US Women’s Gymnastics Team from 1986-2016 and an ex-coach from Michigan State from 1993-2016. Nassar has been accused and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, tampering with evidence by destroying and concealing the images in addition to ten counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with minors under the age of 16. He admitted molesting tengirls, three of whom were under the age of 13.

As of January 2018, 150 women have accused him of sexual assault while working for US Gymnastics and Michigan State,and as at least one young woman that he did not see in a medical position. On January 24 2018, Judge Rosemarie sentenced Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexual assault on minors. He was accused of  molesting young women for over 15 years.

Larissa Boyce was a 16-year-old gymnast taking part in a youth program at MSU in 1997, she and an anonymous 14-year-old girl told coach Kathie Klages they were uncomfortable with how Nassar proceeded with the exam.

“I told somebody,” Boyce said. “Instead of being protected, I was humiliated and told that I was the problem.”

Michigan State  staff referred runner Christie Achenbach to Nassar for an injured hamstring in 1999. She was shocked when he rubbed her pelvic area and began to abuse her. After the exam she called her coach, Kelli Bert, she was told “He is respected doctor and you should trust him.”

MSU volleyball player Jennifer Rood said that her team referred to Nassar as “the crotch doc” because of his pelvic-centered technique.

Kyle Stephens, who had been 12 in 2004, told her Michigan State psychologist that Nassar, a family friend, had been touching her since she was six years old. Dr. Gary Stollak did not report her allegation to law enforcement or university official.

SInce Nassar was sentenced Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis formally retired on January 26, 2018.

“This was not an easy decision for my family, and you should not jump to any conclusions based on our decision — listen to facts,” Hollis said. “I am not running away from anything, I am running toward something. Comfort, compassion and understanding for the survivors and our community; togetherness, time and love for my family.”

On January 24, 2018 Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon stepped down as president amid allegation and criticism about how the university handled the Nassar allegations in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has begun investigations into all programs at Michigan State to see if any NCAA rules were broken in the handling of the cases.. The NCAA is also under scrutiny with reports that the NCAA knew about the sexcual assults since 2010.      

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Sexual harassment in sports is real