Kelly Cutright, an ex-gymnast is speaking out about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her coaches. Cutright testified in court saying that William McCabe, who was the South Carolina woman’s coach, started abusing her in 1999.
McCabe, who was never supposed to be hired by USA Gymnastics, met and harmed then 12-year-old Cutright. In 1998, the sport’s national governing body was warned that he was a sexual predator, and he should not have been anywhere near children.
However, USA Gymnastics ignored the warnings and gave the post to Mr. McCabe at International Gold Gymnastics in Tallahassee, Florida. During a thorough investigation by The Indianapolis Star, reporters unearthed a series of letters sent to the officials at USA Gymnastics detailing McCabe’s repulsive behavior.
Letters obtained by the publication showed that before landing his gig with USA Gymnastics, he was fired by multiple gyms for his disgusting behavior. One Florida gym owner said in a letter:
“McCabe had bragged about having a 15-year-old girl in her underwear and said he thought he would be able to “f— her very soon.”
USA Gymnastics claimed:
“It never received any allegation that William McCabe engaged in any act of sexual abuse against a child prior to his arrest in 2006.”
In December 1998, McCabe told Cutright he loved her – she was only 13 at the time. He lied to her and said that her mother had approved of the relationship. She confessed:
“I resisted him because it was uncomfortable and weird. So McCabe turned to threats. Gymnastics was my whole world. He threatened to take all that away, that my teammates would lose everything, too. Everything would be my fault. He threatened his own life if I wouldn’t, in his words, be his girlfriend. And that was kind of, at that point I didn’t really resist anymore. The relationship moved past words because I was too scared to tell anyone.”
The relationship ended when she was 16 because she was too old. She said:
“I don’t remember the specific reason why it stopped. It just kind of did. I don’t really know. I always just figured I got too old.”
When she was 19, she confessed to a friend, who pushed her to talk to her mother. In 2006, the FBI contacted her mom as they were investigating McCabe and she told them about the abuse. McCabe was charged with molesting multiple gymnasts, secretly videotaping girls changing clothes, and posting their naked pictures on the Internet. He pleaded guilty in 2006 and is currently serving a 30-year sentence in federal prison.
The Indianapolis Star started investigating USA Gymnastics’ handling of the allegations in 2013 after one of McCabe’s victims sued him and USA Gymnastics. The plaintiff argued:
“that the organization was negligent because it failed to report the allegations it received. Those complaint files on 54 coaches also were entered into evidence as part of the lawsuit.”
Cutright, who is not involved in the suit, said:
“The files should be opened because the information contained in them could save others. I believes my parents never would have allowed me to continue being coached by McCabe if they had known about the allegations against him.”
In its legal brief, USA Gymnastics slammed the newspaper for questioning its policies:
“The American people, as well as these athletes, and all USA Gymnastics athletes, parents, and coaches, deserve better than to have the gymnastics national governing body tried by and in the press based on incomplete, mischaracterized, and omitted facts and conclusions.”
On Monday, Judge Ronald Thompson will hold a hearing on making those files public.