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American Gymnastics Tries to Execute a Dramatic Shift in Coaching of Young Athletes

Louise Radnofsky
The Wall Street Journal
April 18, 2021

Eric Lewis was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on American gymnastics' attempts to grapple with its coaching culture in the wake of abuse allegations and criminal charges.

The sexual assault charges, in particular, put a different light on the question of where the line between coaching and abuse lies, said Eric Lewis, a partner at Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss.

“There is criminal behavior which is not recognized as such because it is so culturally normalized, unless something happens that takes it out of that matrix, like sexual abuse, or physical beatings that go beyond what seems like incidental or collateral contact,” he said. 

Lewis, who is advising a group of British gymnasts as they pursue an abuse case against their sports governing body in the U.K., said that in many countries, child endangerment and anti-bullying laws could be also used against coaches. 

In the U.S., he said, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act also has a civil remedy that individuals can pursue. 

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