The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that USA Taekwondo could be held legally responsible for failing to protect athletes from sexual abuse allowing a suit brought by three former competitors to proceed. The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by three female taekwondo athletes against elite coach Marc Gitelman (pictured). They accused Gitelman, who was sentenced to more than four years in prison, of repeatedly abusing them between 2007 and 2014 while they were minors including assaulting them in the dorms at the Olympic Training Center.
Though the three women won a $60 million judgment against Gitelman in 2017, which he's been unable to pay, the original ruling cleared both USA Taekwondo and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee of liability. But an appellate court later ruled USA Taekwondo, though not the USOPC, can be held responsible due to their closer relationship with the coach and the athletes. Thursday's ruling upholds that decision allowing the resumption of the suit against USA Taekwondo.
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