Major sports group takes aim at sex abuse of young athletes
Measures include mandatory background checks and screenings for all adults involved in AAU programmes
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), one of the largest US sports organisations dedicated to young athletes, is expected to announce new measures on Tuesday aimed at fighting child sex abuse.
The measures, including mandatory background checks and screenings for all adults involved in AAU programmes, stem from a six-month task force review of the organisation's safety procedures.
The review was ordered by AAU President Louis Stout after allegations of sex abuse that reportedly took place in the 1980s were levelled against former AAU president Bobby Dodd.
Two men told ESPN that they had been abused sexually by Dodd decades ago when he was working in Memphis. AAU since severed all ties with Dodd, who stepped aside in the wake of the allegations.
Neither of Dodd's accusers ever filed police reports against him, and Memphis police dropped their investigation against him January.
But the alleged victims said they were encouraged to step forward, and to confront Dodd, because of news reports about the Penn State child sex abuse case that grabbed the national media spotlight.
The results of AAU's safety review will be announced at a news conference on Tuesday at AAU's headquarters in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, according to Ron Sachs, president of Sachs Communications, the Tallahassee-based firm that handles public relations for the AAU.
He would not reveal details of the 42 recommendations contained in the 30-page report, but confirmed they include mandatory background checks and screenings all adult coaches, volunteers and staff.
"President Louis Stout has said these steps are being taken not because AAU suspects anyone of wrongdoing, but because AAU expects everyone to play a positive role in creating, maintaining and strengthening a healthy culture of safety," he added.
"In sharp contrast to (other) child sex abuse scandals . President Stout and AAU acted immediately, decisively and followed through to enhance their No. 1 priority: Safety for all athletes and participants," Sachs said.