◼️ They allege that they were forced to train and travel with known sexual predators.
Four women athletes have denounced the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Taekwondo Federation (USA TKD) for sex trafficking, alleging that they were forced to train and travel with known sexual predators.
Heidi Gilbert, Mandy Meloon, Amber Means and Gaby Joslin went to the Colorado Court Friday after “two decades of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking of athletes of the US Olympic team of taekwondo by entities, officers, coaches and mentors in who they trusted to protect them.”
The lawsuit cited former US taekwondo coach Jean Lopez and his brother Steven, a two-time Olympic champion in the sport.
The US Center for Safe Sport (the Center for Safe Sport) suspended Jean for life from all the global taekwondo events, and Steven, meanwhile, has an internal restriction while investigations continue.
Meloon, an Olympic champion on two occasions, filed a complaint in 2007 alleging that she had been raped by Jean at the World Cup in Egypt in 1997, when she was only 15 years old and then left Jean’s team, taking her case to a arbitration by the Olympic Committee of your country.
“At least from 2007 on, the USOC and USA TKD have protected, empowered and granted Jean Lopez the authority, legitimacy and confidence to be the official coach of the American taekwondo team and his brother Steven of being the superstar of American taekwondo.” , indicates the complaint.
“In doing so, they have exposed hundreds of young female athletes to two sexual predators, the coach of the American taekwondo team and his own brother.”
The lawsuit claims that “in their search for ‘medals and money’, the USOC and USA TKD have protected Steven Lopez from prosecution because he delivered commercial wealth.”
Gilbert reported that Jean sexually assaulted her after an event in Ecuador in 2002 and in Germany in 2003.
The complaint says that women who wanted to be part of the US taekwondo team “had no choice but to surrender to the Lopez brothers’ sexual demands. If rejected, the Lopez brothers, USOC and USA TKD would sit, suspend or they kicked off the American team. “
In a statement published in the newspapers USA Today and New York Times, the spokesman of the United States Olympic Committee, Patrick Sandusky, said that the organization “is deeply focused on supporting, protecting and empowering the athletes it serves.”
Sandusky explained that several actions have been launched, such as the launch of the US Center for SafeSport, which “will ensure that our athletes are better protected from these atrocious acts.”
The Federation of Taekwondo United States said in a statement to these media that they have not had time to review the details of that complaint and that “being a legal process underway would be inappropriate to make any comment on the matter at this time.”