« Reveal

Dropped and dismissed: Child sex abuse lost in the system (rebroadcast)

2018-02-10 | 🔗

The scandal around USA Gymnastics and former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar is shining a spotlight on the sexual abuse of young athletes. This week, Reveal revisits the story of a woman who decides to confront the coach she says abused her decades earlier.

Reporter Tennessee Watson was abused by her gymnastics coach when she was a kid in the 1980s. Over 25 years later, when she learned he still was coaching children, she called the police. Her inside account of the arduous process of seeking justice in her own case exposes discrepancies in prosecutors’ responses to reports of child sexual abuse and highlights a lack of accountability.

— Head over to revealnews.org for more of our reporting.

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And to see some of what you’re hearing, we’re also on Instagram @revealnews.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
From the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex. This is reveal an hour later this year we ve been watching what may be the largest sexual abuse scandal in sports history. Unfold Larry Nasser Doctor for the USA, Olympic Gymnastic see abused hundreds of girls and young women. He was supposed to be treating one sent him a powerful message wishing sentenced to seven hundred and seventy five years
twenty one hundred miles. I'm just find yourselves worries. Nasser got even more time this week in another drunk so far, more than two hundred women have testified against in this moment of me to in times of it still staggering to see Nasser held accountable, but getting justice and child sex abuse cases use after the fact is amazing, and it's not that kind of Tennessee. What an independent radio producer knows this from personal experience, we first air her story in twenty sixteen and we had to bring it back now because of everything this happen, Tennessee story starts with home video. Court it when she was just a kid in them Tina taking gymnastics in Virginia. Stand up to some coffee.
This video of me is from one of my private lessons with my gymnastics: coach harvests, you Sufi back Recording was made, I was about seven years old and he was forties that's good step, I was a spunky little kid with a lot of it, but you are going. Dressed up in tights and an oversized often dollar teacher. I have is tat because my dad brought our camcorder with us one day to the gym. I'm out on the floor- and you said he's behind the camera filming me- cartwheels. You got me lieutenant right here that he hasn't access go he's originally from IRAN. He's calling me by my nickname, tiny. I always uncomfortable and uncertain around him. I like this, so attention he gave me, but his critiques could be harsh Rio. We get faster in turn right away,
he said. I wasn't disciplined enough and needed to learn, focus Forgive me one on one lessons which sounded fun. I imagined having the giant trampoline all to myself. It also meant spend time alone with him. Whose, during those lessons that this Lobbyists began I don't know exactly how long it went on, but I knew it. A ban and wrong to make Stop I pretended to lose interest in gymnastics and we stop going I never told anyone not until I was grown up, because I was scared. It was somehow my fault. A carried my secret for years and years and eventually but the police.
Tennessee going to take us along on her journey from victim to survivor to reporter. She investigated her own story and recorded everything that happened four years documenting her decision to report her coach and what happened when a police detective and a prosecutor took on her case. We should warn you there will be a description of the abuse. This is not a story for all listeners. As I got older, what happened? What occasionally come to mind- and I knew it wasn't right, but what to do about it, and I was and Twentys. I was working as a radio producer and I started making recordings of myself snow twelve thirty three on November tenth
I guess it's really hard to figure out I think it was a way to coax myself into going public about the abuse. I have all of the lights on in my apartment, I sort of like China, all the nooks and crannies, to make sure that there is no one hiding here and I could make myself say exactly what had happened out loud. It was hardened just say something happened. Kind of scarier, Sir Quartet, and documented make it permanent burdens, really I put those recordings on a shelf. A couple years later, my dad came to visit me in Washington DC. Had gone to live every time you ve come to visit me. I've thought about having this conversation and something else better always comes along I'd already
my dad that you said he had sexually abused me. I called and told him on the phone back in college, not any details just that it happened here. Ask me what I wanted to do about it, and at that point I didn't know, but now I needed itself With it, I would really part of me would really is rather avoid this topic for rest of my life, but I can't avoided it always comes up again. You know, I don't know how you had an know. Go of my dad the next journalist in his early seventies. I you call him by his first name bill. My mom died when I was sixteen. So since then,. Just me and bill since I called you and told you. Has it come up, I mean, do you think about it?
yeah. I will be in a way you can't help but feel sort of like you failed as a father. Your whole job is to protect your daughter and you missed us and we missed it completely, so I kind of want to take it and put it away Take that failure and put it away, You can't I wanted to confront what had happened head on. My dad help me take the first step to find out if the general still open, I wonder if it even exist Saturn Hour, I've, never looked it up that night. We went for it. I gotta do it. You know I do a hooker,
she and Jim They have a website, should we cook sure GM ass, kids please. I have a picture of him on a bicycle. If you see I'm way. Let me no sir, not look as I typed my dad sitting across the room. He got up, put his hand on my shoulder and we peered at the screen, together you click on start, fires, sure o God, You said he was still running the german Manassas Virginia Ancren generate down cringing. It was almost midnight
but my dad and I decided to drive out there- you wanna, come The Jim was in the same cinder Bach, building tat behind some day stores, I stood and. Wondering how could somebody did what he did to me still be, business too
five years later looks just like I did twenty years ago, two decades. What I'm thinking as is the same thing still happening. I wondered that too was he said he still abusing kids. How many other people like me were out there trying to deal with what he tented? I wasn't ready to confront him still afraid about how people react, how he would react right after this visit to the gym I moved to New York City. The distance took some pressure off me to decide what to do. It took me three years to take the next step. I learned that he started another side: business working with disabled catch, one on one doing something called Sensory Motor integration therapy. I called you set me and said I was doing a documentary and healing and injury and her child and injuries can affect us as adults. I asked forget interview him and he invited me to the gym
when I arrived workable parents and the winning area in hand of kids on the floor counting on tramplings rolling around on those giant, exercise balls. He said you are, I was a kid. The waiting area, and then brought me back to his office. It was filled with. Thank you. Cards and kids are He looked the same as I remembered still super fit, but now, with more gray, hair You say you want I'll, be cool everything here I'm a radio producer. Suddenly I may use when I got a note, YAP and then said because I had you probably Julius Teddy, though that may have been a genuine satanic anywhere from power used.
Gets on my audio recorder, getting good levels, and that keeps me from totally freaking out I started asking him about old wounds and healing hoping, I'd, say something that would give me a way to bring up the abuse. If there are certain patterns that are set in the time that you're a kid and then adults. How do you sort of from that and and and Can you like? We work yourself so that your more integrated in physics, they function? That depends on how much fear you created. If you psychologically scars by those in Is it so difficult to go back to the same, like one from diving, France, its height involved, beat him all present. Like you, on the on the Khyber giant. Jointed has lots of speed right. You ve
yet the interview going what sizing him up? We talked about a lot of different kinds of injuries, but I never brought up the abuse after that day, seeing him in a jam full of kids. I realize this was bigger than what I could handle on my own. I felt like I had no choice. Haddock, the police and tell them what I knew. I wasn't calling to press charges I don't even know for my coach done to me was technically illegal, good morning, sergeant Brown, my got your phone number from. I called someone at a special victims, Union Virginia and my name? Is Tennessee Watson
and I'm going to reports report again so yeah give me a call back. That would be great when tenancy, let that MRS, she had no idea if anyone would even hold back that phone call set off a big chain of events, which is where we'll pick up her story. In a minute you listening to me from the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal a mallet reporter Tenancy Watson has been telling us the story of how she first reported that are gymnastics coach, had sexual abused or as a child hype
The file abusers are facing consequences in this meeting moment of reckoning there being fired, sometimes there being prosecuted but in towns and cities across the country where nobody fee MRS involved getting. This is still difficult and complicated. That's what about to get into, but I should like. It includes a graphic account of sexual abuse. We pick up his tenants at age. Thirty two has just made a police report, and this was in twenty four. Team she flew from New York City to Virginia to meet a detective made, Kimberly North sorry said on that site. Detective Norton were her dark hair and along braid. She was strong and compact like she be hard to knock over.
I found out later she was a military police officer before she became a candy detective members is heard about the case number that will always refer when you call me or something like a year later, just to refresh my memory so is getting more serious than I had anticipated, Norton in brought me up to an interview, room, cinder box, all the simple table in a couple of chairs there is. Here, a glass to an observation area. She agree to. Let me our conversation, I have your name Tennessee Watson. It's two ends to asses to ease the state. When I called the police, I wasn't even sure what happened was a crime and I figured it too late, but and told me that in Virginia there's knows attitude of limitations on felony sexual abuse. You sufi could still be prosecuted. Only the first memory that you have something that you felt Talkin and what's that memory was.
Yeah. I mean in terms of. The sexual abuse that was about to say out loud to Norton things that I'd only thought in my head, and I had never told anyone, even my parents, the details of exactly what you Sufi He had set up this a format but that he could prop up explain to me that, because I had trouble concentrating. I'm focusing- and they didn't want me to be distracted- that I had to stretch with him they used to make a big deal out of how I had trouble concentrating and focusing that he said was so. I wouldn't be distracted by my dad who came to my lessons with me. The really the map to hide what was happening. You said you would
start stretching routine with me and then asked me to sit on the floor across from him with my legs wide open in a split got me into that position and then serve lake stuck there. And then it was in that moment, when he was sort of be like oh leotard, is too big. And in order to show me how big it was slide his hands entirely attack my my wiser spread wide open and found them really compromising position, but he would. Rub. My lady, at the outside my vagina legal stroke, my body with his hand at that moment did you feel uncomfortable at that age. You already found like this one. Shut up, and then I remember having the sort of lake.
deeply shameful, slash, sick feeling knowing it was wrong, not knowing exactly what to do. what it always be. The same same parameters that would be ass. The man was up, Emily telling someone exactly what happened. All that details felt really good, and I was telling someone who could act and do something about it. Are you describe it as a kid? I trusted my coach. I wanted to trust him. Norton. Tell me this is typical of kids, who are sexually abused, most of them Oh they're abuser abuser work, trusting relationship. What's called grooming, not just with a kid but with their parents to you, Sufi did. That was dad. He invited him to use the gem to work out and give him exercises to strengthen his bad knees. As I told nor not hard to buy
I think that there is a really sort of optimistic part of me and also the tenacious part of me. That's like this one happen again like almost giving a doll. I trust the benefit of the doubt that the first time that it felt weird and wrong that that it is a mistaken. I wouldn t be a signal. It happen again now as an adult. I was thinking all the kids he had access to who might be going through the same thing I did you if you look at the end of a dirt road and now excited I don't know I wouldn't be sitting here, but I bet he. is an isolated and on the fact that he does still work with young people. And if he said to me, you were the only one.
I mean I don't know what I would do, but if he can fix the teacher, if he could say that to me, if I could know that I was the only one then I might walk away. Look ok! you, do you feel at this point right when I got really emotional detective Norton suggested that we call you stuffy is right, then, and get it to take responsibility or apologize Shadrack, or the conversation. I try stu that now that this goes in on the phone wherever you put your ear up to like right here and then put the phone up whenever you're ready
higher status. Sufi, hey this is ten Watson calling you again, I came and interviewed you last February. I think it was as well I was holding our quarter up to the phone, so it's a little hard to hear you Sufi hurry, I'm calling his there was when I interviewed you. There is something that I wanted to talk about the day. I didn't really get the chance to talk about, and when dealing with the impact of actions that you took. When I was one of your students, an unkind to see, if I could get an apology
for what you did He says I don't know what you're talking about Do you want me to tell you what I'm talking about I remember you doing the straddle stretch with me and you reaching forward and telling me. repeatedly that my weary time is too big, and you showed me that my leotard is too vague by sliding your fingers in between my genitals and mainly attired. Tat is what I know he has the same response to everything that I ask him that he is no
what I'm talking about. That is what I know you did. He said he had never ever done such a thing to anyone you something didn't admit. Anything in fact and of the call he was denying. I was ever even his student. This is a point where a lot of cases like mine stop. I reported you safely to the police I tried to steer phone call, but we did, yet a confession, or even an apology and fell a dead end? My keys didn't stop.
Because of a woman in Christina Robinson Change Office as a form of accurate Robinson is an assistant prosecutor, imprints, William County Virginia she has long blonde hair and dress is pretty casual. Robinson keeps a black blazer and a pair of serious heels under her desk, just in case In the courthouse has a tan leather couch would you can hardly see under the stocks of files? There are papers everywhere on the couch and death floor. It is right, is right there, on the top She remembers getting the call about my case from Detective Norton think it was one of these work Christie. We kind of have a duty and republican or bring out other victims, because In a school setting, Jim, setting any kind of setting were adults or supervising children. If there's one, victim, often there's more Robinson,
This could turn into a much larger case, but even if it didn't, she told me She could legally charge you sufi, just with my account of what happened. Let me explain this to you in Virginia the testimony of a victim. If believed is after conviction. Ok, if believed that the task bar the reality of trying occasion, for a jury is it's usually
Not enough Robinson was already thinking ahead to what might happen at a trial. A jury needs proof beyond reasonable doubt that the crime happened. They want physical evidence, injuries, dna flood swabs, all the stuff you see on crime shows that, with child sex abuse cases a lot of the time there is no physical evidence. There is no force used. There are no bruises, because kids are groomed to trust their abuser and, with a case like mine, far in the past, the best Christina Robinson could do is find a way to prove that the abuse could have happened. So what we always want to look at is for corroboration, whether it's a five year old that disclose something that just happened the night before or if it twenty year old. That is disclosing something that happened when there were five
so a lot of times. It's me ferreting out and saying what else is there? She asked me a bad checks, check or other records of payment for the private lessons photo the two of us together. I didn't have any of that stuff and that that old, who movie me at the gin back, then I don't even remember it existed, so my best hope can also. My worst fear was that you Sufi had other victims detective nor and when police departments all around Virginia hunting for police reports about you, Sufi. In linked in county, just one county over. She found one and ninety and these are then a woman who was a little older than me reported to police that you Sufi had sexually abused or in the nineteen eighties. That case had never been prosecuted and because it was in another county, Christina Robinson,
be able to use. The police report is evidence we were getting close. To running out of options. We need to passed a certain point, so The media at least knows about it, because I want a fake, fair if there are other victims going on my testimony alone, without any other evidence, Robinson decided to charge you Sufi Virginia Gymnastics. Coaches behind bars, charged with aggravated sexual battery power. Vessel use Effie, is accused of abusing a student starting when she was six years old, whose foresters ease of use Jeff for two days before he was released on bond- were shocked by the couple. After the arrested the news to more women came forward in Maryland. They gonna seem school, where you said he was their Jim teacher said they'd both been touching appropriately by him and they tried to bring. Charges in the nineteen eighties when they were kids. Here's costs Robinson again, there two young ladys who actually had reported the things very close in time to when they had happened and
why Maryland did nothing about it? Then I don't know- and I can't answer that robinson- hoping there was a way for those other victims to testify. In my case, when I tried to get in touch with the least one of them. The response was undone dealing with this, even though I came for to corroborate I'm done with dealing with this. I can't face it any more and that also It's not an uncommon reaction, sometimes people just shut down
a date was set for the trial June. Eight two thousand fifteen a year away. At this point, a lot of the reservations I had about the criminal justice process flew out the window. They believe me and they were taking it seriously. I was like a wow. This is for real. Could then, at the preliminary hearing, none of the other victims for their realized? It was just going to be me facing you, Sufi in the courtroom, with our lawyers, who was the first time I've seen em since the interview Jim he looked straight ahead, didn't make eye contact with me. He suffers defence attorney cross examined me for over an hour. Are you Sufi watched? He asked me about details. I didn't remember like the exact months the abuse habit. Every time I said I don't know, I was like damn he's getting me. It was really defeating. It was a taste of how hard the trial is going to be only there'd, be twelve jerk, scrutinising me to nine months whereby I was teaching documentary production, two teenagers in New York City in May, two thousand fifteen I told my boss, I was going to miss three days of work, sent out emails to friends, asking them to come to the trial
but a balance out you sufi side of the court room with my own party of people. I heard the defence attorney and gathered hundreds of letters of support for you sufi and they had twenty character witnesses lined up on the other side was me and my dad and Detective Norton. I was planning to drive to Virginia early on Friday morning. On Thursday night I got a call from Christina Robinson guiding our thinking about came on repairing just sounded like she's about to give me some bad news. I can never forget you gonna, do what you can see there. The memory of in our murder is remembering and something that happened when he would lose your seven year. Gold is enough beyond reasonable doubt such a gun to your boss and he said you're gonna lose there's no way we're going to win, and I wanted
work out a collegial tissues, I offer you suffer a lesser chart or ray contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a misdemeanor. It's kind of it the charge for adults exposing a kid something that might harm them like buying a kid six pack, a beer his original charge is a felony with a potential twenty years of jail time. If he took Christina Deal, you said you would get just a year probation. Wanna go along with this, but it wasn't up to me these to be away from kids for a year now have a good night As soon as I hung up with Robinson, I called my best friend
if a cup there are forcing a plea there they're, not giving me the option to go to trial. Got off the phone with the prosecutor. What happened I mean it's like I don't really understand. It sounds like sofa in nice and break her heart is in the right place, but she basically said it like she's a ghetto actually have a choice,
I was upset, but not because I myself wanted to go, see the trial or see a harsher punishments. I was upset because I too deep fear that this whole thing would become just another very police report for another victim to find a decade. Now, Christina Robinson told me my case was challenging to put in front of a jury because the crime it occurred, twenty seven years earlier that the other three women had reported you sufi, when they were kids and nothing was done then either so what happened to those of the cases and how often to peace like this just go nowhere. I don't even know how you look at the big picture, there's no like record keeping within this office that, after I do something with a case I say: okay, this is my statistics, and this is what the element resolution. Other cases that's coming up next reveal
the centre for investigative reporting and p r ex this is reveal I'm outlets sure- and I want to talk to you about something. It's very person, your buddy. Remember it's your body and no one should tell you in a way that you feel is wrong from the time the little kids across Amerika had this message drilled into them. If you ve been touch that way, don't be ashamed. Tell someone you trust, like your parents, your doctor, you're teach, or can we say to kids, tell someone will take action, will protect you. they promise doesn't always come to pass when she was
Thirty, two years old, Tenancy Watson told the police that she'd been sexually abused by gymnastics coach and she was just a child back in the nineteen eighties. Three other women had reported the same man harvests you safie their cases, didn't leave any charges. The tendencies case. You said she was arrested, but he never went to trial. Tennessee, picks up the story. On the day of her coaches plea hearing, I went with my dad the courthouse him and asked the stretching out of a trial. There was a hearing, victims, don't usually make a statement at hearings like this, but I insisted on being able to speak I wasn't a louder accord inside the courtroom that day, but I said that I had reported you safely to the police to protect other kids. I hope that you if you would get help to prevent this from happening again and everyone there to know how hard it was to filling the burden of taking action was all on me. My dad was there
me on the stand, more than anything else, I was. Looking at me a four year old daughter and seemed to my thirty four year old daughter. and seeing my seven year old daughter, and that was stuff, because very focused on tell it story, scary, the when it occurred. I knew got the last word. He didn't even bother to deny that had never heard her story, so I was very, very focused on that It was scary but powerful to finally get my story out in the open, but use of these you're not the last word he did then bothered to deny the details of the abuse instead estimation he discredited my entire account by saying that I'd never in a trial? The statements made by me this point my dad was seething they were together in that Jim.
he was giving her private lessons I paid for them. I know that his summation was not true been a trial. The statement made by me and my dad would have been a part of the public record. Even if we lost, I would have been to stand there and corroborate hurt testimony in front of the judge and say. Yes, indeed, it did happen. When I walked into the courthouse that day, I wasn't sure how to make sense of it Privacy Sufi got just a year of probation the man who molested me behind a mat on Jim floor. When I was seven years old was told he had stay away from kids for twelve months. He good
counselling and as long as he didn't violate the terms of his probation at the end of that time, he'd be free to work with kids. Again, when I tell people what happened, it couldn't believe the prosecutor, let you set me up so easy. So what did happen was as a normal outcome. I should have expected the whole time pretty good. A figure it all out. I went back to my prosecutor, Christina Robinson. I felt frustrated with the outcome of your case. I feel frustrated was frustrated too. I felt robbed my chance to take on new Sufi directly going trial would have been a giant stamp of approval, saying that we as a society agree that sex abuse is a problem and that you Sufi serve to be held accountable I wanted to have a permanent conviction of something on his record. I am.
Where I come back to it was am disappointed and disappointed, but I don't think we would have won anything a trial, but actually a lot of child sex abuse cases in Virginia. Unlike this, with no trial and a bargain. Instead with reduced charge, and little or no jail time. That's according to Cooper Array. their church, an organization called protect the pushes for a stronger response to child abuse Cooper found that the people driving these weak outcomes are prosecutors, really prosecutors, the one that says the level of priority in his in his or her community. You know the Buxton with him. He can. He can reject a case discuss he doesn't want to do it and prosecutors, Don have to explain their individual decisions knows I am aware of. Has a state wide data system were Where you can look at what prosecutors are doing in every district, statistically
and make some sense of what's going on so the prosecutor's office, were all important decisions are made, is kind of a black hole, there's no way to say this many routes, Words came in your some anyone the police and then here's how the prosecutor accepted and actually brought to trial. There's no, connect the dots there, but I wanted to connect the dots at least in the county, where my case was handled, I worked for the investigative reporting workshop at American University and reveals data team. We look Thousands of child sex abuse cases going back fifteen years and principal aim county. It was impossible. the track each case all the way through this system so too, degree? We still can see much of what was going on, but we do fine, but about half of reported cases didn't make it passed the police somewhere close for lack of evidence and some are rejected by the prosecutor Why were those cases rejected to find out
I went to Christina Robinson's boss, Paul either he's the one you call the shots, reprints William County and he's the one who told Robinson she had to Firstly, due to use Effie she hates me when I went to hard to avert. I expected a stern man in a power suit. Instead, TAT kind of a wizard of OZ feeling the man and the curtain was an elderly gentleman and Khakis cotton polo sure he's been in office. A long time shooting we take will remain for fifty years Ebay is Virginia longest serving prosecutor when he last and for reelection, one of his platforms was that he stuff on crime that affects women and children. His office does have five special process, those who work on child sex abuse cases. But Ebert says he doesn't track of how many cases his office decides to prosecute forces, how many they turned down a trout. foolish by upon to try to do it when I think he's right under certain changes. Some
not shown polygon. Understand you don't know the facts in law. elected to do if you found done like what to do. I kick me off. It s our system, but given the fact that little transparency, the idea the voters will take action if their dissatisfied is a little far fetched rose court it is a researcher, Drexler Universities, law school in Philadelphia. She looked into how prosecutors treat section. such cases all over the country that was so frustrating to see the enormous, ongoing and often unacknowledged problems Corrigan. all the six different states interviewing victim advocates there, the people, victims, navigate reporting to the police and dealing with the prosecutor, so. with one advocate in Kansas, and I was asking her about their prosecutor in sexual assault cases. and she said we don't prosecute sexual assault out here she had been there. think for about ten years and there
a secure had literally never brought a sexual assault charge. That was one extreme and on the other end of the spectrum, there was a hopeful, surprising Corrigan, research, a small group of prosecutors scattered around the country were going above and beyond. They were prosecutors who seem to be unusually driven to seek justice for victims of sexual violence. Corrigan says the prosecutors like this are rare and Christina Robinson fits the profile. I've been thinking Robinson, let you Sufi off easy, but maybe she'd squeezed everything she could have out of my case with nothing to go on. Besides my testimony, my inclination, I think, is usually to charge if I can- and I think that that's probably different from a lot of people on the do this job robinsons willing to charge, even when the risk of eventually losing trial, which sets are apart from many prosecutors, and they may think that what I'm doing as overreaching or trying to press the case that may be can't be proven. But I get
I get angry at other prosecutors because they don't understand how important this is other, teams did speak out when they heard about my case, but those reports roadside robinsons jurisdiction, one of them next door in Arlington County, my name, Theo steam us, and I am the Commonwealth attorney for Arlington County and the city of false church in Virginia Theo, stay mosses off. Didn't charge. You sufi she Common on, why not the one asked to talk emphatically about my case? Where It was only my testimony against the abuser. Would she have prosecuted him? It would be a view the odd situation where I would authorize a prosecution to go forward against that individual sing. It can't be done but absent and admission by the defendant or a car action to law enforcement, its virtually impossible to go forward so first day, mouse a victim's word alone. Just isn't enough and charging a k
Based on that isn't right, I think that's a miscarriage of justice. I think that there is a real problem for the community if you have prosecutors, who feel they need to do something and go forward when they really know in their hearts.
That there's no way Danny was going to conduct this guy, but if prosecutors won't put these cases before a jury. My word my testimony and the testimony of other victims won't get heard. That leaves us with no power to convince jurors and no power against their abusers. The woman who made the police reports about Yousefian Arlington County was named Gina Gina Group, one town over from me. You said he was her coach to. She was about ten in the early 1980s when he abused her. She told the counselor at her school and the counselor contacted the police that our parents didn't push her prosecution. They were scared to put her through a trial where she have to testify on the stand, but Gina couldn't put it behind her. Some more than a decade later, at nine, and these seven? She brought the case to the police again,
Her final attempt to get Arlington County to take action was when she heard about my case. I heard GINO wanted to talk to me, but I waited too long to call on May twenty. Second, two thousand and fourteen Gina dad died. I reached out to her parents to find out what happened there I attack for the story. It was too painful for them. they introduce me to backing Newton one of genus. Dear friends, I called her at her home and Little Rock Arkansas. She says minister down the crowd, the first ten they met at church. She was what I call I hit me friend, and I use the word hippy with the greatest affection. It was clear that she gonna lived outside the law and she made me, laugh right away, begging, as Gina had an edgy sense of humour she spent years working. Rescue animals and one photo? I saw genus hugging away
people and smiling, but Becky says inside. She struggled because of the abuse it was huge. I think it impacted every aspect of her life. I think it was. just this incredible wait did He was never meant, carry as a little girl. She was never meant, carry as a girl and as a woman in early twenties, Gina got a job at Starbucks near where she grew up. You sent me be coming in Did she carried around says you couldn't take it anymore at one point before she quit. She actually looked him in the eye and said I just want you to know you ruined with addiction must have heard out by an early twenties. Gina got a job at Starbucks near where she grew up. You sent me the incoming in regularly for coffee
after seeing him a bunch of times. Ikey says couldn't take it anymore at one point before she quit. She actually looked him in the eye and said I just why you didn't know you ruined my life, that's when Gina first decided to go back to the police and ninety ninety seven. She tried to sting phone call with the help of the detective, but it didn't go anywhere, but in two thousand. thirteen when I brought my case detectives on China's police report and called her. Becky remembers that day she was so excited dead because she had gotten the call that that and she had been informed about you informed that they were looking at pursuing the case and just a deep sense of relief that this my axe, Will he be pushed forward this time.
And then what happens? There was just some resistance in pursuing the case. I remember that Kimberly, Norton told me. Arlington county was reluctant to take the case because Gina wasn't a great witness and might have been drug use. Every time she brought herself to a place to be able to confront this, to be able to be honest about it to voice what happened Me too, and she would have loved you Tennessee, she would have loved the fight in you. Just would have left you and she would have been right there at your side. Tear it makes me so mad drug overdose she left behind a ten month old daughter, no one is quite sure whether Gina intentionally took her own life, she would have loved that fight in you just would have
and she would have been right there at your side, sitting right alongside you. Tina died of a drug overdose. She left I ain't a ten month old daughter. hearings. In my case, while I was in the courthouse, I asked a producer to wait outside to try and get a statement from him: We requested an interview with time as you Sufi and he declined in the summer of two thousand. Sixteen. I went to one of the last hearings in my case, while I was in the courthouse, I asked the producer to wait outside the trying the statement from him, this treaty sufi histories ethic for women have reported to the police. Now, do you have a? What would you have to say to them? you got your come. Why do my heart for the man
but you don't want to talk to you. Are you going to go back to coaching on children? Please let them pass that August. There was a final I couldn't be there, but my dad when and he called me right afterwards, so What happened who all the bottom line. Christina Robinson, He said mister, you said he had completed all terms tribute to the delinquency of a minor because he complied with as probation. His case is marked as dismissed. Now the motion is granted. The matters is met. now as it does it
you set. These final plea was not guilty of the reduced charge, contributing to the delinquency other minor because he complied with as probation. His case is marked as this has now. If you look up his arrest record, it will show that he was originally charged with a felony aggravated sexual battery and ass. Much ass well turn up internet search indefinite, but he was never put on the sex offender registry, Frida, worthless. Kids, again, people always ask me what I think should have happened to you sufi years in prison. Intensive counselling, I'm still not sure I know, is this: when Gina Dad told her school counter about you, Sufi hadn't even started taking gymnastics. Yes, if her case it forward, maybe I wouldn't have become his. We want to think independent Producers Tennessee walks in for sheer her story with us. As you mentioned, the period of probation is over for parties. You surf legally, he could work with kids again. The Jim is still open, but his name is not on their website. Tendencies did refer. You, Sir feet. Usa, gymnastics sports governing body back in twenty fifty they told her. They could only temporarily suspend him since he hadn't been convicted. That was then, in January, you s age in their six decided to ban. You said he's fighting back within the field. This came after the Indianapolis star broke the story about Doktor Larry Nasser Cereal Abuse and exposed USA. Gymnastics for failing to report for culture is accused of abuse. Then went on to her boy. Kids. If this topic is important to you, you can hear a very different version of Tennessee story: heart pockets for Pierre Rex and renewed hope. You is absurd, was produced by lost our Chaskey and our senior editor footstep George. We had help from the investigative reporting workshop at American University, especial thanks to reveals data team and W H. Why why to adapt? Our production manager is windy and also a sound design team. Is this just sleep my man, J Breezy, Mr Jim Rigs, Fernando my men, YO a router
c o is Crystal sharper. Amy pile is our editor in chief, our exact, If producer is Kevin Element A by Colorado, lighten support for reveals provided by the River David Logan Foundation, the John Dene Catherine Team, Macarthur Foundation, the gene Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the hiding Simons Foundation and the ethics excellence in journalism foundation reveal Co production of the center for investigative reporting and p r x amount lesson and remember, there is always more to the story where.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-20.