U.S. Figure Skating disappointed over all questions left unanswered by SafeSport decision to end investigation into allegations against late national champion John Coughlin

U.S. Figure Skating disappointed over all questions left unanswered by SafeSport decision to end investigation into allegations against late national champion John Coughlin

 The U.S. Center for SafeSport has ended its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against the late figure skater John Coughlin despite a strongly worded request from U.S. Figure Skating to complete the process.

That news was contained in an opaque statement Tuesday from SafeSport spokesman Dan Hill “regarding its (the Center’s) application of interim measures in response to recent events.“

The statement did not mention Coughlin by name, which Hill indicated in an email was a SafeSport policy.  Its critical point, made obtusely, was Coughlin’s death precluded the need to continue:

“Since the Center’s response and resolution process works to protect the sport community and other covered persons from the risks associated with sexual misconduct and abuse, it cannot advance an investigation when no potential threat exists,” the statement said.

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U.S. Figure Skating calls on SafeSport to continue investigation of misconduct allegations against the late John Coughlin

U.S. Figure Skating calls on SafeSport to continue investigation of misconduct allegations against the late John Coughlin

DETROIT - United States Figure Skating has asked the U.S. Center for SafeSport to complete its investigation into allegations against the late John Coughlin and “encouraged” SafeSport to involve a third party in the investigation.

“U.S. Figure Skating believes it is imperative that the Center complete its investigation,” USFS executive director David Raith told a press conference Thursday at the U.S. Championships.  “We believe the Center has an obligation to all involved in our (skating) community to do so.

“We also suggested they hire a third-party investigator or outside counsel to handle that.  (If there are) any conflicts, having a third party go forth would hopefully settle that matter.”

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The John Coughlin story, tragic for all involved, should lead to empathy and understanding instead of finger-pointing

The John Coughlin story, tragic for all involved, should lead to empathy and understanding instead of finger-pointing

Let’s start with the simple fact that John Coughlin’s death is a tragedy.

Whatever the circumstances and reasons that led the 33-year-old pairs figure skating national champion to take his own life Friday, as his sister’s Facebook post confirmed, they do not mitigate the pain Coughlin’s passing has brought to his family and friends.

And the desire of those people to express their love and support for Coughlin does not mitigate the pain of those who have reported being victimized by him.

Coughlin’s death leaves many questions specific to his case that likely will never be answered and other, broader questions that should continue to be asked.

Yet too many people have felt compelled to draw conclusions based on assumptions, misinformation and misunderstanding.

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Damning report on USOC leadership in Nassar abuse scandal should lead nearly entire USOC board to resign

Damning report on USOC leadership in Nassar abuse scandal should lead nearly entire USOC board to resign

All but one member of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors must resign.

A new board must separate the position of athlete ombudsman from the USOC paid staff, so athletes can feel their grievances, large and small, get an independent hearing.

USOC sponsors, not Congress, should lead the drive for those changes in the aftermath of a damning report about the way USOC leadership mishandled the horrific Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

But the board could start the process of replacing itself at its meeting today in California.

Nassar was sentenced Jan. 24 to 40-to-175 years in prison for multiple sex crimes after some 200 of his victims courageously testified against him in court. But that testimony did not fill in all the blanks about the case.

In the months that have followed, there remained many critical and unanswered questions about how the USOC leadership had handled - and is handling - the worst and most gruesome events in the history of Olympic sports in the United States.

The answers, searingly critical of the USOC, came this week in the report issued by Ropes & Gray, the Boston-based international law firm whom the USOC Board of Directors hired to conduct an independent investigation.

The report’s evidence that USA Gymnastics and its former chief executive, Steve Penny, acted unconscionably already had been well documented.  Its evidence about the USOC’s utter failure to act was new – and even more awful than many suspected.

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