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Ex-US Olympic doctor blames firing on abuse concerns: reports

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Los Angeles (AFP)

A former US Olympic and Paralympic Committee sports medicine executive says in a whistleblower lawsuit that he was fired by the USOPC after questioning how top executives handled sex abuse and mental health issues, according to multiple reports Thursday.

The Denver Post, ESPN and USA Today reported that William Moreau, dismissed last May as USOPC's vice president of sports medicine after 10 years at the organization, says in the lawsuit filed in Denver District Court that his urgings for better athlete health and safety protection met with inaction.

"Frankly, what I'm really worried about is, what if another kid gets raped and I didn't say something? What if another athlete kills himself and I didn't say something? Somebody has got to get the USOPC's attention to start listening and not breaking the law," Moreau told ESPN.

The lawsuit comes five months before the Tokyo Olympics as the US Justice Department and US lawmakers investigate decades of USOPC handling of abuse allegations, sparked after dozens of women accused former US gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of molesting them.

"I feel like in a way, I need to give a voice to the athletes who were raped, the athletes that are hurting, the athletes that aren't getting the care they need," Moreau told the Post.

"I hope that by shining a bright light on this, maybe people will start paying attention."

The USOPC told the Post in a statement it has not been served with the lawsuit.

"We regret that Dr. Moreau and his attorney have misrepresented the causes of his separation from the USOPC," Luella Chavez D'Angelo, the USOPC's chief marketing and communications officer, said in the statement.

"We will honor their decision to see this matter through in the courts and we won't comment on the specifics as that goes forward."

Among Moreau's claims are that USOPC executives failed to recognize a crime had occurred involving the statutory rape of a 15-year-old Paralympic athlete at the 2018 Drake Relays and that they failed to act last February on his warnings to provide psychiatric care to an female Olympic cyclist who committed suicide.

"I'm not saying we could have saved her," Moreau told ESPN. "But we sure as hell could have tried."

He says the USOPC failed to dismiss a male strength and conditioning coach who was seen naked by a female trainer in a sauna open to men's and women's athletes while a group of teen gymnasts were training at the organization's Colorado headquarters.

Moreau claims he raised the issue of treating young gymnasts without chaperones with Nassar, who has what amounts to a life sentence in prison after pleading guilty to state and federal charges.

Moreau says he was fired for being a chiropractic doctor rather than one with a medical degree, then replaced by another chiropractor, according to USA Today.

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