Only On 3: Civil Lawsuit Moves Forward Against USA Gymnastics

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — In an Only on 3 Report, we have new details in a shocking sex abuse case that has captured national headlines.

The investigation involves coaches and a doctor charged with sexually abusing students at schools for gymnastics. Now, the local victim whose case sparked a federal investigation is heading to court again in a civil lawsuit.

The victim in this case was 11 years old back in 2006 when her mother contacted the FBI about her gymnastics coach, William McCabe, who owned a gym in Rincon, connected to USA Gymnastics.

She found explicit images in her daughter’s email — sent to her by McCabe who later pled guilty to sexual exploitation of children. After allegations in this case surfaced, many other victims came forward to report abuse by McCabe.

Attorneys for the victim in Effingham County say allegations of abuse against McCabe date back to the late 1990’s. And, they claim USA Gymnastics knew about the claims but did nothing about them.

Eleven years later, the victim will now get to tell her story to a jury in a civil trial.

“USA Gymnastics and the other governing bodies were clearly putting metals and money ahead of the safety of their athletes,” says Jeffrey Lasky, Victim’s attorney.

“This stuff stays with people, and until we figure out how to give them the same rights they deserve, as a result of what’s happened to them. It’s never going to be an issue that can be fixed,” says Brian Cornwell, Victim’s attorney.

Cornwell believes legislators should pass tougher laws to help victims of sex abuse.

McCabe is now serving 21 years in prison. The victim who exposed his crimes is now 22 years old.

News 3 reached out to USA Gymnastics for a response.

“The contention that USA Gymnastics had knowledge but failed to do anything about a claim of sex abuse involving the Plaintiff, McCabe’s former student, is false. The first time USA Gymnastics had any such knowledge was when McCabe was arrested in 2006.
“USA Gymnastics denies the assertions by Plaintiff’s counsel. Due to pending litigation, we have no further comment.”

A civil trial is expected by the end of the year.

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