A key member of the USA Badminton Board has recommended that the national governing body sack its chief executive, Linda French, according to a letter obtained by the Southern California Newsgroup.
The letter from board member, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, an Olympic swimming champion, comes against the backdrop of a congressional investigation into whether French and other USA Badminton handled sexual abuse allegations against a former US national team coach and a The other involved a case of sexual abuse. Young female players in accordance with US Center for SafeSport guidelines.
Hogshead-Capricorn’s recommendation also comes a month after USA Badminton employee Alistair Casey, who alerted the US Center for SafeSport to French and the NGB over its handling of two sexual abuse cases, was fired.
Hogshead-Makar, who was appointed to the USA Badminton Board in June 2020, wrote, “I believe Linda should be terminated because, in the totality of the circumstances, I no longer trust her actions in the best interest of the sport.” ” Rather, she is interested in defending herself to the detriment of the game. She certainly doesn’t work ahead with any plans that probably should have been changed during the pandemic to focus on issues that don’t allow for ‘normal times’.”
According to SafeSport documents obtained by SCNG, the US Center for SafeSport imposed a temporary ban on Frenchman’s duties in relation to sexual abuse cases on 4 November.
French did not respond to a request for comment.
Hogshead-Capricorn declined to discuss the specifics of the letter, citing privacy issues.
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned USA Badminton in a letter dated October 1 amid allegations of “potential criminal breaches” that it is trying to hide claims of child sexual abuse and Obstructing investigations by the US Center for SafeSport” in two sexual abuse cases.
According to Grassley, USA Badminton “discourages the reporting of sexual misconduct, encourages the destruction or withholding of evidence, resists its obligations under the law, and refuses to cooperate with SafeSport.”
Grassley said he alerted the FBI to the allegations.
Grassley, referring to the Larry Nassar case, wrote, “As the Nassar case exemplifies, inaction could cause harm to many more victims, which would be unbearable.” Olympic and U.S. national team physicians enable Nassar to sexually assault more than 100 new victims.
A day later Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Senate Communications, Science and Transportation Committee chairman and ranking member Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-Mississippi) wrote to USA Badminton that it had received allegations that the USA Center for SafeSport “details possible interference by senior USA Badminton officials, including the allegation that on several occasions, senior USA Badminton officials” The organization discouraged SafeSport from reporting potential sexual abuse to employees of a minor.”
Hogshead-Capricorn, in his letter to other members of the USA Badminton Board on 1 December, stated that he had been sent a letter from the House Energy and Commerce Committee stating that “it has recently been brought to our attention that the USA Badminton officials may fail to report allegations of child sexual abuse, discourage others from reporting these allegations, and may hinder an investigation into those allegations made by the US Center for SafeSport. If true, So this is unacceptable, extremely disturbing and a violation of federal law.”
John Little, an advocate for USA Badminton and a prominent survivor advocate who has often struggled to deal with sexual abuse cases with the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the NGB, responded to the House committee that “in the United States False allegations of not reporting Badminton is currently being ‘investigated’ by the United States Center for Safe Sport and last month USA Badminton submitted more than 1,000 pages, including several privilege logs, to the USA Center for Safe Sport and the Senate Committee on Commerce. records have been prepared; we are happy to present the documents before your Committee.”
On October 13, Little was informed by the US Center for SafeSport that he was being investigated by the Center.
According to the letter from the US Center for SafeSport, the allegations included that Little had been made aware of allegations of sexual misconduct and failed to timely report such allegations to the appropriate authorities; discouraged reporting of sexual misconduct; but encouraged concealment and destruction of evidence; opposed the need to comply with federal reporting requirements; refused to cooperate with the Center’s investigation; and retaliated against a USA Badminton employee for reporting sexual misconduct to the Center. It is further alleged that you are engaging in abuse of process by improperly disclosing the identities of claimants in communications with both the USOPC and the United States Congress.”
“The allegations are absolutely false,” Little said.
In a letter to Senate aides on October 13, Little wrote, “Safe Sport’s complaint against me is part of a long-running campaign by Safe Sport and its predecessors to silence voices defending athletes in sport. And I will defend myself publicly.”
The US Center for SafeSport and Congressional Investigation focused on whether USA Badminton discouraged reporting and failed to report in a timely manner that a former US national team coach had trained and trained a young foreign female player in Southern California. raped a young woman. According to the US Center for SafeSport and USA Badminton documents, by another USA Badminton member. In the second case, the woman became pregnant and had a miscarriage, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The allegations in both cases were known to USA Badminton, including some board members, for years, according to documents from USA Badminton, the US Center for SafeSport and Congress.
In their October 2 letter to French, Cantwell and Vickers wrote in the US Center for SafeSport that the allegations of interference against USA Badminton were made “in connection with SafeSport’s investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse. [by a USA Badminton coach] Which was apparently known by an NGB official from 2014.'”
In an October 13 letter to Senate aides, Little wrote, “This behavior is a retaliatory abuse of the exact same process that Safe Sport routinely uses to protect the coaches who produce medals and money – in this case.” In (coach of the US national team). “Safe Sport seeks to perpetuate the narrative that Badminton failed to report (coach of the US national team) when in fact (coach) by the former athlete ombudsman in 2009 and again in June USA The subject of a complaint was made by Badminton. / July 2020. Badminton rightly held that any additional complaints would be out of hand and dismissed without further investigation by Safe Sport. This was the case with respect to the August 2020 complaint as it was disposed of in less than three weeks.
In an October 5 email to French, Hogshead-Capricorn and USA Badminton President Ken Wong, Little wrote, “In June 2020 we discussed banning USA Badminton (coach) and I think we need to do that now.” Yes, I know it. Will be expensive because he’s likely to fight, but I think this guy is going to be a problem in the future, if he hurts a child in the future, we’ll sue the pants in a decent way – but other than that To remove it is also to do the right thing.”
Little said both cases were reported on August 12 at USA Badminton.
Little said officials at the US Center for SafeSport were unable to locate the alleged victim in the first case, which was closed on September 1. The second case was closed on August 28, Little said. The center did not issue a ban in any case, Little said.
“Linda did not understand the rules of SafeSport, and made the mistake of thinking that she was not required to report certain incidents of sexual abuse to the US Center for SafeSport,” Hogshead-Makar wrote in the letter. “After the text and discussion with him, she reported them, and both reports were administratively closed. … But instead of cleaning up the mess that had been caused by her mistake, she went on the defensive and asked her only employee, Alistair. Unable to talk with
Linda made a SafeSport issue/complaint in a federal case that failed to say what was true: She didn’t think she had to report it when she heard about a coach molesting a badminton player. She eventually reported, and SafeSport has administratively closed those reports. To my mind, it was a goodwill mistake that didn’t get cleared up quickly.”
In an interview with SCNG, Hogshead-Makar said, “There was a mistake in my assumption and my assumption was that we cleaned it up.
“It was in no way like (USA) gymnastics where they knew about (Nassar) and they didn’t do anything about it.”
Hogshead-Capricorn also alleged in the letter that “the 2022 budget was used to sack Alistair Casey from employment. In my mind, this ’emergency board meeting’ (on a budget) was made to give Linda ‘cover’ to fire Alistair. I guess she wasn’t directly with us about her intentions for our meeting, or why she was firing Alistair.
Casey said he was fired because he was reporting to the US Center for SafeSport.
“Absolutely,” he said. “If I hadn’t reported to SafeSport, I would still have worked there.”