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New Law Brings New Responsibility to Youth Coaches

By Dusty Rhodes, 05/01/18, 12:15PM CDT


Following the recent USA Gymnastics scandal with Dr. Larry Nassar, Congress enacted a new federal law intended to require coaches to report any suspicion of child abuse, including sexual abuse.  The new law, known as the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, became effective February 14, 2018. 

According to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the Act “extends the duty to report suspected child abuse, including sexual abuse, within 24 hours to certain adults who are authorized to interact with minor or amateur athletes at a facility under the jurisdiction of a national governing body,” including U.S. Soccer.

Any individual who is required, but fails, to report suspected child abuse will now be subject to criminal penalties.

“This new law obviously has an important impact on our community of soccer coaches, but also our sport as a whole,” said Lesle Gallimore, president of United Soccer Coaches. “Safety is always a priority and our goal is to ensure our members have access to the most up-to-date resources and training to help protect the athletes they serve and themselves.”

Additionally, the bill amends the federal criminal code to revise civil remedy provisions. Among other things, it changes the civil statute of limitation to 10 years from the date the victim discovers the violation or injury (currently 10 years from the date the cause of action arose). The bill also extends the statute of limitations for a minor victim of a federal sex offense to file a civil action to 10 years (currently 3 years) from the date such individual reaches age 18.