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Congressional Staffers Meet To Discuss Sexual Abuse In Youth Sports

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-- Congressional staffers met with representatives of the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming on Wednesday to discuss ways to reduce the risk of sexual abuse in youth sports.

Democratic spokeswoman Tiffany Edwards of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce describes the meeting in Washington, D.C., as starting point to address a troubling issue with a wide range of affected parties.

"It was a productive meeting," Edwards said. "But we're very early in the fact-finding process."

The get-together stemmed from Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) asking the Government Accountability Office in June to expand its investigation into the Penn State sexual abuse scandal to include youth sports. That came shortly after famed Washington-area coach Rick Curl was sentenced to seven years in prison for a relationship he had with an underage swimmer in the 1980s.

USA Swimming has been faced with dozens of similar allegations, resulting in tougher guidelines and a public list of coaches who have received lifetime bans. Last week, executive director Chuck Wielgus announced an outside group would be brought in to evaluate the effectiveness of the enhanced program and recommend any needed changes.

Critics, led by attorneys who have sued USA Swimming, claim the organization is still dragging its feet to deal with sexual abuse and needs to replace its top leadership.

"It was the first of many meetings that we as a committee staff plan to have with not just the USOC and USA Swimming, but everyone who has a stake in this issue," Edwards said.

Miller is out of the country and did not attend.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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