Statement responding to news stories from Friday, August 9
Statement from David Raith
Executive Director, U.S. Figure Skating
August 12, 2019
In further response to ABC News and USA Today online reports published Friday, August 9, 2019, regarding Craig Maurizi and a meeting he had with representatives of U.S. Figure Skating during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea, the following statement is from U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director David Raith:
The meeting in February 2018 during the Olympic Winter Games in Korea was requested by Mr. Maurizi and its purpose was for Mr. Maurizi to hear in person an update from U.S. Figure Skating leadership regarding U.S. Figure Skating’s history and initiatives with respect to athlete safety, and for U.S. Figure Skating to listen to any issues he wanted to discuss with U.S. Figure Skating. The meeting took place at an official Olympic hotel in the city of Gangneung, host to the Olympic figure skating venue. At the meeting, Patricia St. Peter, as a spokesperson for U.S. Figure Skating SafeSport efforts, reiterated to Mr. Maurizi that by coming forward to U.S. Figure Skating with his case in 1999, he made a major impact on athlete safety within U.S. Figure Skating.
As U.S. Figure Skating has publicly stated before:
Mr. Maurizi’s case prompted U.S. Figure Skating to examine its rules and procedures in the area of Athlete Safety. As a result, in May 2000, U.S. Figure Skating instituted its first ever Harassment and Abuse Policy and a mandatory reporting requirement for all its members. In May of 2000, U.S. Figure Skating added to its official Rulebook that if any form of child abuse is observed or suspected by a member, the member must immediately contact local law enforcement or a public child welfare agency and make a report. In addition, the member must also make a report to U.S. Figure Skating’s Ethics Chair. The following year, another new rule mandated publishing the identity of any banned or suspended members in SKATING magazine, later moving a detailed list to U.S. Figure Skating’s official website, where it still resides today. U.S. Figure Skating has acted promptly on every incident reported to it of suspected sexual abuse or misconduct since the new policy was enacted in May 2000.
In addition, during this meeting with Mr. Maurizi, which lasted about 45 minutes, there was no position within U.S. Figure Skating offered to Mr. Maurizi, and there was no invitation for Mr. Maurizi to serve on an executive committee. There is, in fact, no such committee within the U.S. Figure Skating structure, nor is there a “new branch,” as he stated, in the organization. There was a discussion with Mr. Maurizi about sharing his story to help educate athletes, parents and coaches. During the meeting, Mr. Maurizi himself brought up the topic of speaking to the media. I reiterated to Mr. Maurizi that it was his decision – and his decision alone – if he wanted to share his story with athletes, parents and coaches, and/or the media. And to be clear – there was never any intent or attempt to silence Mr. Maurizi from telling his story to the media. In fact, Mr. Maurizi’s story has been public since 1999 when Mr. Maurizi first told his story to the New York Times and other media outlets. U.S. Figure Skating supported Mr. Maurizi coming forward to tell his story to the U.S. Center for SafeSport. And I made it clear, it was solely his decision to tell any others.
Two months later in April 2018, Mr. Maurizi testified before a Senate subcommittee. During his testimony, Mr. Maurizi reiterated to the Senate subcommittee the impact he had made on U.S. Figure Skating and U.S. Figure Skating’s commitment to athlete safety. When asked a question whether there were examples of when an athlete reported sexual misconduct – “that the system worked for that athlete?” Mr Maurizi responded: “I would say, in some instances, it has worked, in all fairness. I met with two executives from U.S. Figure Skating at the Olympics in South Korea regarding my particular situation. I was informed for the first time since 1999 when I gave my first report, if you will, that as a result of my grievance, [as] we called it, even though mine wasn’t even heard, that things were put into place to begin the process of stopping this. And, as early as one year after I gave my testimony [that] was denied, there was a first perpetrator that was caught and suspended from U.S. Figure Skating. And so, there have been steps, at least in my sport taken to try to address this issue.”
U.S. Figure Skating continues to be supportive of Mr. Maurizi. We support all victims of sexual abuse and encourage anyone who has been abused or suspects abuse to report it to local law enforcement and the U.S. Center for SafeSport or U.S. Figure Skating.