The U.S. Center for SafeSport, a nonprofit dedicated to ending sexual abuse in sports, delivered a harrowing condemnation of “a culture in figure skating that allowed grooming and abuse to go unchecked for too long” in a Monday statement to USA Today. The organization cites “the reports we have been seeing and the anecdotal stories and evidence we have been receiving,” and likened the situation to #MeToo reckonings in other sports, like gymnastics.
The statement comes as SafeSport spars with the sport’s national governing body, U.S. Figure Skating (USFS) over the nonprofit’s investigation into sexual-misconduct allegations made against prominent skater John Coughlin. Coughlin took his own life in January, a day after he was issued a temporary suspension. USFS has demanded that the investigation be completed despite Coughlin’s death; SafeSport contends that since the worst it can do is ban an athlete from a sport, there’s no point in continuing the investigation. Before his death, Coughlin denied the allegations.