Kevin Mazeika, a longtime fixture in American gymnastics who coached the United States males’s workforce at three Olympics, stated his popularity has been irreparably broken by U.S.A. Gymnastics due to the carelessness with which it has dealt with a present misconduct declare towards him.
He stated U.S.A. Gymnastics’ overzealousness to publicly disgrace anybody accused of any wrongdoing and its presumption of guilt are emblematic of the federation’s desperation to win again public belief after the Lawrence G. Nassar sexual abuse scandal.
Mazeika, the boys’s nationwide workforce program coordinator from 2009-16, stated he’s being investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for a declare that he did not report baby abuse that allegedly occurred at his Houston health club. SafeSport is the impartial group with unique jurisdiction within the United States to analyze and resolve accusations of sexual misconduct in Olympic and Paralympic sports activities, and it generally additionally handles issues involving bodily and emotional abuse.
Mazeika’s lawyer, Russell Prince, stated Mazeika wasn’t even within the health club on the time and characterised the incident involving a younger lady as “a kid who was playing around in a club and got hurt” and “a basic injury within the context of the sport.”
Robert Lapin, a lawyer for the gymnast, stated on Tuesday that the lady had sustained a critical again harm however that “there is no allegation of any sexual abuse of any kind with respect to my client, and saying that would be totally unfair and untrue.”
But even earlier than Mazeika was formally notified of the failure-to-report accusation by way of an e-mail from SafeSport on Tuesday, U.S.A. Gymnastics had positioned him on its public listing of individuals going through misconduct allegations within the sport. His entry on that listing included no specifics of the case however carried the notation that he may haven’t any unsupervised contact with minors.
The wording of the itemizing and the shortage of element, Prince stated, sparked hypothesis among the many public that Mazeika was “some kind of sexual abuser of children.” Erroneous information studies that he had been suspended for misconduct solely made his scenario worse.
“I don’t know what to say except that I’m shocked,” Mazeika stated in an interview on Tuesday, including that he had completed nothing to warrant any kind of misconduct investigation. “When I saw, ‘No unsupervised contact with minors,’ I thought, what in the world is going on? I know what those words suggest. The implications are horrific. It’s tremendously damaging and heartbreaking.”
He added that he “completely supports SafeSport in its important role to protect our athletes” and stated that “U.S.A. Gymnastics did this to me in order to look good” after the Nassar case revealed widespread abuse within the sport. Nassar, a former United States gymnastics nationwide workforce physician, is serving what quantities to life in jail after molesting lots of of women and girls underneath the guise of medical therapy. In the wake of that scandal, U.S.A. Gymnastics confronted potential decertification by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and the federation filed for chapter safety due to a multitude of Nassar-related civil claims.
When requested about Mazeika’s case, Carol Fabrizio, a spokeswoman for the governing physique, responded in a textual content message that the group couldn’t remark intimately as a result of it seeks “to preserve the integrity of the process and the privacy of all participants.” Daniel Hill, a spokesman for SafeSport, declined to remark as a result of the group doesn’t focus on particular instances.
Prince, Mazeika’s lawyer, stated individuals, together with a lawyer representing many Nassar victims, this week have posted on social media suggesting that Mazeika was simply one other Nassar. Yet U.S.A. Gymnastics did nothing to appropriate the report, Prince stated.
He added, “This is a 100 percent fail, and the reality of the situation is they have a set of rules that doesn’t effectively work.”
The SafeSport investigation of Mazeika includes an 8-year-old lady who faults two tumbling and trampoline coaches at Houston Gymnastics Academy in Texas for injuring her throughout post-training session play final September. Mazeika is president of the health club, however he didn’t coach her, Prince stated. Neither of the coaches straight concerned within the scenario — Oybek Mamataliyev and George Mamataliyev — might be reached for remark. Both stay on U.S.A. Gymnastics’ suspended and restricted listing.
Mazeika stated he obtained a letter in November from the lady’s lawyer, informing him that the lawyer had been retained to pursue any authorized claims. The date of the reported harm traces up with the date of the failure-to-report declare that was filed with SafeSport.
Prince stated that Mazeika was underneath no obligation to report a typical health club harm to SafeSport or to legislation enforcement, and that sources had been being wasted on a baseless declare that’s “in no way an issue for SafeSport.” He additionally criticized U.S.A. Gymnastics’ resolution to put any interim restrictions on Mazeika when the coach was not accused of abusing any athletes, and thus was not an imminent hazard to them.
Those interim measures, he stated, had been only for present, contemplating teaching guidelines already dictate that coaches can’t be alone with unrelated minors.
On Tuesday, SafeSport modified U.S.A. Gymnastics’ order that Mazeika not have unsupervised contact with minors at a U.S.A. Gymnastics membership or sanctioned occasion, and that he not be of their presence with out one other grownup there. Instead, it barred him from touring with a minor athlete, teaching athletes with out the supervision of one other grownup, and having one-on-one unsupervised contact with athletes.
Mazeika stated that he was already required to comply with these guidelines as a U.S.A. Gymnastics coach and that the entire scenario was an instance of the federation’s failures to deal with instances pretty.
“A lot of really good coaches are living in fear and are walking on eggshells all the time because it’s a one-way street right now,” he stated. “We understand that there are bad people that need to be taken to the floor, but right now you could lift a kid to the high bar and be reported, or you could be reported because of the way you look at a kid. And that’s not right.”