Former United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee vice president of sports medicine Bill Moreau filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging he was fired by the committee for questioning its management of sexual assault abuse and mental health treatment, USA Today reported Thursday.
It also alleges that USOPC officials “violated federal law by waiting five days to report the sexual assault of a 15-year-old athlete to police in 2018.”
Moreau, who holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, was fired in May of last year and told it was because he didn’t have a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree, the lawsuit says. But Moreau’s replacement, Dustin Nabhan, is also a chiropractor.
In the suit, Moreau alleges that the USOPC’s “upper level management” was alerted on April 26, 2018 that a 15-year-old Paralympic track athlete had benn sexually assaulted by a 20-year-old athlete at a competition. A USOPC track coach told Moreau the 15-year-old was having suicidal thoughts, the suit says, according to USA Today.
Instead of reporting to police, as is required by Iowa and federal law, Moreau says that USOPC chief of sport performance Rick Adams began an internal investigation.
The USOPC filed a complaint with the U.S. Center for SafeSport on April 30, but did not classify the case as a “reportable offense.” According to Moreau, he told Adams and two other USOPC officials that a 15-year-old cannot legally give consent to sexual activity with a person who is four years older under Iowa law.
The committee reported the assault to police in West Des Moines, Iowa on May 1.
Additionally, Moreau questioned the USOPC’s handling of mental health cases. He alleged that he told executives that “urgent action” was need after Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin attempted suicide in February 2019. Instead of referring her to an appropriate psychiatrist for the situation, Moreau says the USOPC tried to treat Catlin “by committee.”
He brought it up a second time, on March 7: “If we do not make changes quickly, in the next day, next week, next month or next year an athlete we are responsible for will again take their own life,” he said. Catlin died by suicide the following day.
Moreau’s suit comes as the USOPC and various NGBs are facing investigations by the U.S. House and Senate, the Department of Justice and the independent law firm of Ropes and Gray in the aftermath of the Larry Nassar abuse scandal.