Congress passes bill to protect young athletes following Nassar sentencing

The House passed a bill on Monday night that protects amateur athletes from sexual abuse by enforcing mandatory reporting regulations and extending the statute of limitations for child victims. 

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), came up for a vote one week after Larry Nassar was sentenced in what was the largest sexual abuse scandal in sports history. Congress agreed to use the Senate’s version of the bill to speed up its passage; it passed with a vote of 406-3. It just needs President Donald Trump’s signature to be made into law. 

Nassar was sentencing to 40 years to 175 years in prison on seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor has been accused of sexually abusing more than 150 young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.

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Rachael Denhollander (C) the first woman to publicly say she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the former physician for the U.S. womens gymnastics team is hugged during a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court on November 22, 2017 in Lansing, Michigan. Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Lawrence (Larry) Nassar, accused of molesting dozens of female athletes over several decades, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. Nassar -- who was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games -- could face at least 25 years in prison on the charges brought in Michigan. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Larissa Boyce, a former gymnast sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the former physician for the U.S. womens gymnastics team attends a hearing of Nassar's trial in Ingham County Circuit Court on November 22, 2017 in Lansing, Michigan. Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Lawrence (Larry) Nassar, accused of molesting dozens of female athletes over several decades, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. Nassar -- who was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games -- could face at least 25 years in prison on the charges brought in Michigan. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Rachael Denhollander (4th L with white blouse) the first woman to publicly say she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the former physician for the U.S. womens gymnastics team attends a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court on November 22, 2017 in Lansing, Michigan. Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Lawrence (Larry) Nassar, accused of molesting dozens of female athletes over several decades, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. Nassar -- who was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games -- could face at least 25 years in prison on the charges brought in Michigan. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Madeleine Jones, 18 of Farmington Hills, Michigan, who was victimized by former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar attends a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court on November 22, 2017 in Lansing, Michigan. Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Lawrence (Larry) Nassar, accused of molesting dozens of female athletes over several decades, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. Nassar -- who was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games -- could face at least 25 years in prison on the charges brought in Michigan. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Larissa Boyce (R) gets a hug from Alexis Alvarado, both victims of Larry Nassar, during a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court on November 22, 2017 in Lansing, Michigan. Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Lawrence (Larry) Nassar, accused of molesting dozens of female athletes over several decades, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. Nassar -- who was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games -- could face at least 25 years in prison on the charges brought in Michigan. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
kalie Lorincz (C) who was victimized by former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar during a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court on November 22, 2017 in Lansing, Michigan. Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Lawrence (Larry) Nassar, accused of molesting dozens of female athletes over several decades, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. Nassar -- who was involved with USA Gymnastics for nearly three decades and worked with the country's gymnasts at four separate Olympic Games -- could face at least 25 years in prison on the charges brought in Michigan. / AFP PHOTO / JEFF KOWALSKY (Photo credit should read JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 02: McKayla Maroney of USA gets ready to compete in the Womens Vault Qualification on Day Three of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships Belgium 2013 held at the Antwerp Sports Palace on October 2, 2013 in Antwerpen, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 16: Aly Raisman of the United States performs during the women's floor exercise final at Rio 2016 on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. Raisin finished second to fellow American Simone Biles. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29: Olympic medalist Simone Biles stands on stage during an East Room event at the White House September 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the Rio Olympic Games this year. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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As the Nassar sentencing comes to a close and the Olympic games quickly approach, we are reminded of the importance of protecting the safety and well-being of all of our athletes,” Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said. 

The bill has a three-pronged approach to protecting athletes and regulating governing bodies of amateur athletics.

First, it requires coaches, trainers and others to report any sexual abuse allegation to the police within a 24-hour period. Several women said they reported Nassar to MSU representatives and others as early as 1997, but Nassar’s abuse was allowed to continue because no one adhered to mandatory reporting regulations. 

Secondly, the legislation extends the statute of limitations to up to 10 years after a victim realizes he or she was abused. It’s not uncommon in child sexual abuse cases for survivors to have a delayed realization of the abuse they endured. Many of Nassar’s victims did not realize they had been abused until other women came forward with their stories. 

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Several women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh was accused by numerous women of sexual assault, including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who claimed he assaulted her when the two were high school students in Maryland.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(Carlo Allegri / Reuters)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Donna Carson)

Sen. Al Franken resigned after he was accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman testified that her extra-martial affair with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was not always consensual. The accuser claimed Greitens took a nude photo of her to use as blackmail and coerced her into having oral sex.

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept./Handout via REUTERS)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was accused in May 2018 of physically abusing four women who he had been romantically involved with, according to The New Yorker.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A former aide of Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., says she was fired after she refused his advances.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, resigned after he was accused of asking former female staffers to be surrogate mothers for his child. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., was accused of making unwanted sexual advances to multiple women.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, was accused of using taxpayer money for a sexual harassment settlement with his former communications director, according to Politico. He announced in December that he wouldn't be seeking reelection. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(SAUL LOEB via Getty Images)

California Assemblymember Matt Dababneh was accused of masturbating in front of a woman in 2016, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

In 1992 multiple women came forward against Senator Brock Adams accusing him of sexually harassing, molesting or assaulting them.

(Photo by Gary Payne/Liaison)

The Congressional Office of Compliance reportedly shelled out $100,000 to settle sexual harassment claims against U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congressman Mark Foley, R-Florida, resigned in 2006 amid reports that he sent sexually explicit messages to at least one underage male former page. 

(Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., called a young former aide his 'soul mate,' but denied sexually harassing her.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Kentucky, was facing sexual assault accusations and reportedly committed suicide.

(Kentucky Legislative Research Commission via REUTERS)

Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced in 2017 after pleading guilty to one count of sending obscene messages to a minor, ending an investigation into a "sexting" scandal that played a role in the 2016 US presidential election.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Former U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Oregon, resigned from his position in 2011 after accusations of an 'unwanted sexual encounter' from the 18-year-old daughter of a donor.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain dropped out of the race in December 2011 amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2016 for attempting to skirt banking regulations in order to conceal hush money payments intended to cover up sex abuse allegations stemming from the time he was a high school wrestling coach at a far west suburban Chicago high school decades ago.

(REUTERS/Frank Polich)

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Lastly, the bill limits athletes under the age of 18 from being alone with an adult who isn’t their parent. Nassar often abused young girls while he was alone with them during medical visits, and many survivors said the isolation of elite gymnasts allowed the abuse to continue.   

How a serial predator like Dr. Nassar could have preyed on so many young girls for a long time in such a flagrant fashion is appalling,” Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said during a House debate of the bill. 

The bill has been in the works for about a year, with the help of former top-tier athletes and Nassar survivors including Mattie Larson and Jamie Dantzscher

The abhorrent abuses associated with this case are outrageous, and raise serious concerns about your organization’s ability to oversee your sport and protect your athletes from abuse and mistreatment.letter from members of Congress to USA Gymnastics

Lawmakers from both parties have also called for an investigation into USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

“The abhorrent abuses associated with this case are outrageous, and raise serious concerns about your organization’s ability to oversee your sport and protect your athletes from abuse and mistreatment,” multiple members of Congress wrote in a letter to USA Gymnastics. 

Several officials at USA Gymnastics, MSU and the U.S. Olympic committee have resigned in the face of harsh criticism. MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon resigned last week. The entire USA Gymnastics board resigned, and former Olympic coach John Geddert retired. The NCAA also opened an investigation into how MSU handled the Nassar case. 

Nassar is currently serving 60 years in prison on child pornography charges and awaits sentencing on three other charges of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. 

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Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, attends a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
(L-R) Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, Jessica Leeds and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, exit a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Jessica Leeds attends a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 18 - Journalist Natasha Stoynoff poses at the Simon & Schuster offices in downtown Toronto, January 18, 2017. Stoynoff, who spoke out during the election campaign about being sexually attacked by Donald Trump when she was a writer at People magazine. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, speaks at a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
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Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, appears in New York State Supreme Court during a hearing on a defamation case against U.S. President Donald Trump in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Barry Williams/Pool
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(L-R) Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina and Brave New Films founder Robert Greenwald, attend a news conferences for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
(L-R) Rachel Crooks, a former receptionist in Trump Tower in 2005, Jessica Leeds and Samantha Holvey, a former Miss North Carolina, attend a news conference for the film "16 Women and Donald Trump" which focuses on women who have publicly accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 26: Temple Taggart and Gloria Allred arrive to a press conference at Little America Hotel on October 28, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chad Hurst/Getty Images)
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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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