COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, December 19. YESTERDAY, Congressman Mike Honda weighed in supporting recent calls to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) by Congressman George Miller to look into mandatory reporting laws when it comes to child abuse at athletic clubs in the United States.
Honda specifically pointed out the Mitch Ivey case in his statement. Ivey has been banned by USA Swimming for life but is currently in the middle of an appeal window before the ban becomes public around Christmas.
Child abuse of any measure is simply wrong. That is why I am appalled by the reports of child sexual abuse of student athletes by their coaches during these students' participation in public and private swim clubs. I understand the case of the former coach, Mitch Ivey, who taught at the Santa Clara Swim Club, was a two-time Olympic medalist, and who recently received a lifetime coaching ban -- is pending an appeal period. Therefore, I would simply add that sexual misconduct has no place anywhere. I support and stand by my colleague, Congressman George Miller -- Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee -- in his inquiry to the U.S. Government Accountability Office to investigate youth athletic clubs' handling of child abuse allegations, specifically regarding the reporting and investigating laws and policies. According to the African proverb, it takes a village to raise to child; and so, it must take a village, or an entire community, to protect that child. As a father and a grandfather, I will continue to fight to protect the sacred innocence of our children everywhere.
While critics of USA Swimming have continued to attempt to mark this congressional interest regarding all athletics clubs as congress specifically targeting the sport of swimming with an investigation, USA Swimming has actually come out in support of many of Miller's thoughts regarding mandatory reporting and child abuse protection.
According to ChildWelfare.gov, there are "approximately 48 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands designate professions whose members are mandated by law to report child maltreatment."
These mandatory reporters include social workers; teachers, principals, and other school personnel; physicians, nurses, and other health-care workers; counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals; child care providers; medical examiners or coroners as well as law enforcement officers.
Also, as of the August 2012 printing of the Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect white sheet published by ChildWelfare.gov, only "four states now have designated as mandatory reporters ... athletics staff ... at institutions of higher learning, including public and private colleges and universities and vocational and technical schools."
Additionally, 11 states require that "directors, employees, and volunteers at entities that provide organized activities for children, such as camps, day camps, youth centers, and recreation centers, are required to report."
In June, Miller's requested for the GAO to look into changing up these mandatory report laws to include club coaches across all sports as well as high school coaches across all sports.
While USA Swimming will not speak directly to any statement involving Ivey, since the case is still not yet public, USA Swimming's Karen Linhart did release the following statement requesting comment regarding Honda's post.
USA Swimming has no tolerance for inappropriate behavior by our members and we actively work to expel members who have violated our Code of Conduct. We are committed to raising awareness and eradicating abuse in sport.