Former USA Gymnastics’ national tumbling team coach Sergio Galvez has been accused of sexual misconduct with at least four alleged victims. Galvez was asked to resign from his role as a coach with USA Gymnastics after these allegations surfaced in October.
The first complaint was filed with the U.S. Center for SafeSport on October 18. A woman told the department that Galvez abused her sexually, physically, and emotionally. The woman was an athlete training with Galvez as her coach at the Capital Gymnastics National Training Center in Burke, Virginia.
According to the complaint, Galvez began harassing the athlete a few months after he started coaching her. Galvez was also her boss at the time, as the woman was working full-time at the gym to pay for her gymnastics training.
The complaint states that Galvez invited her to his cabin at the Karolyi Ranch, where he touched her “in a way that made me uncomfortable.” The woman said that she felt she could not refuse his invitation because of the coaching and professional relationship with Galvez. According to the complaint, the athlete notified gym owners Barry and Chrissy Neff of what she considered sexual and emotional harassment by Galvez.
In February, this victim quit gymnastics and her coaching job at Capital Gymnastics. She eventually filed a complaint in October after a mutual acquaintance convinced her to contact attorney Jessica Armstrong, who is a former victim of U.S. National Team sexual abuse.
At least three others have come forward to SafeSport with allegations of sexual misconduct by Galvez. He remains suspended pending a hearing.
Attorney contributor Kevin Biniazin is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now represents survivors of sexual assault in civil court. Here is some input from Kevin regarding the legal options available to those who have been sexually abused by coaches:
Sexual predators are often in positions of trust and authority over the victims. These predators exploit their trust and authority in order to commit disgusting acts of sexual abuse. We regularly see this in fields like teaching, coaching, religious groups, etc. When an authority figure sexually abuses someone they have authority over, we must make sure that they pay for their crimes and that their victims get the support they need to recover.
Additionally, it’s important to consider if a third party, such as the abuser’s employer, played a role in enabling the abuse. For example, an athletic training facility might be considered liable for sexual abuse if they failed to report complaints of sexual misconduct to law enforcement. In such cases, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a coach or someone else in a position of authority, the legal system can help your family find justice. To learn more about your family’s legal options, consider contacting an experienced sexual assault survivors attorney.