Vote Explanation for H.R. 1973 — Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Exploitation Act of 2017

Despite the vitriolic partisanship that has come to define our current political climate, this week Democrats and Republicans in the House came together to strengthen our fight against child abuse. I voted in support of H.R. 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Exploitation Act of 2017, which passed the House 415–3.

This legislation would require national amateur sports organizations to report suspected cases of child abuse to law enforcement. H.R. 1973 expands the list of individuals with a legal duty to report suspected abuse to include coaches and other individuals who interact with child athletes on behalf of “national governing bodies” recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The bill was introduced following reports revealing that 150 Olympic coaches and officials have been convicted of sexual misconduct against minors over the past several decades. Earlier this year, journalists at the Indianapolis Star revealed that young athletes were being abused by U.S. Gymnastics coaches and staff. In a 2013 lawsuit filed by a former olympic gymnast, two former coaches admitted under oath that USA Gymnastics repeatedly dismissed allegations of sexual abuse unless it came directly from a victim or victim’s parent.

The mental wounds of sexual abuse can take a lifetime to heal. This legislation is vital to prevent our olympic athletes from falling victim to this abhorrent act. I was proud to support this legislation, and I hope the Senate will act quickly to send this to the President’s Desk.