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Former U.S. Olympic and National Gymnastics Coach Maggie Haney, who coached 2016 Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez and world champion Riley McCusker in 2018, was suspended for eight years for verbal and emotional abuse, by Scott M. Reid from Orange County Registry.
USA Gymnastics described the rest of the punishment:
“The Hearing Panel determined that Ms. Haney is suspended from the membership and all training of gymnastics athletes from the United States or in member clubs, for a period of eight years, effective immediately, followed by a two-year probationary period. After the end of the suspension, Mme. Haney can reapply after submitting proof of completion of certain specified Safe Sport courses. ”
A panel of USA Gymnastics audiences wrote that Haney failed to “provide a safe, supportive and healthy environment with a culture of trust and empowerment.” They further held that Haney “thhas engaged in harsh aggressive behavior towards a minor, including teasing and ridicule intended to control and diminish another person.
Reid said two months of hearings for Haney took place. Hernandez testified against Haney and McCusker wrote a letter to the panel criticizing his ex-coach.
Haney, who did not respond to requests for comment from the Orange country register, should appeal. His lawyer, Russell Prince, published the following remarks:
” The decision is unfortunate but by no means surprising given the cumbersome nature of the investigation and hearing process. There is no fundamental equity in the way these issues are resolved. Obviously, I anticipate arbitration. ”
Julie Sanders, lawyer for Hernandez et al., Said the decision reveals ” that they are children, even if they are an elite athlete and the coach does not own the athlete, they should not be controlled by the coach. ”
Haney is the head coach of MG Elite Gymnastics in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, where she coached Hernandez and McCusker.
In addition, the spotlight on USA Gymnastics has raised concerns about coaches for the past three decades, Reid writing:
” The Haney affair has raised new questions about a generation of mature American coaches in the so-called Karolyi era, a period from the late 1990s to 2016 that saw the unprecedented success of the Olympic and world championships in the United States under the leadership of national teams Bela and Martha Karolyi and the creation of a culture abuse that made young gymnasts vulnerable to predatory coaches, doctors and officials. ”
A thorough review of the U.S. gymnastics program also occurred largely because of former team doctor Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to seven counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with children under the age of 16. Over 150 women and girls witnessed against Nassar in court.
Survivors are suing USA Gymnastics, and gymnasts such as gold medalists Simone Biles and Aly Raisman demanded an independent investigation into why Nassar’s actions could occur within the organization.