Ever since I first met attorney John Manly 14 years ago (fuuuuuuck, that's been a while), I've been in awe of his ability to suss out the pedophiles and their apologists-protectors within the ranks of polite society. It started, of course, with his lawsuits against the Catholic Church, from Orange County to Los Angeles, Inuit villages in Alaska to beyond. He and his partners then found pedophile protectors at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Throw in random, righteous claim by Manly's firm, Manly, Stewart, and Finaldi—like one against Vanguard University for discriminating against Mexicans who like to play soccer—and you've got one hell of a lawyer.
Now, Manly is going after a new set of child abusers: USA Gymnastics. The sport, of course, is one that subjects teen and pre-teen girls to unimaginable demands on their developing bodies—that's kiddie-creepy enough. But in lawsuits filed in Orange County Superior Court and beyond on behalf of former members of the American national gymnastics team, Manly is alleging that the sports' governing body and its star coach, Bela Karolyi created an atmosphere that allowed a team doctor, Larry Nassar, to sexually abuse girls for decades with no one finding out. His signature move? Sticking an ungloved finger into a girl's vagina, unsupervised, and calling it "therapy." Hmm...
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The lawsuits got major play last night on 60 Minutes, with Manly appearing as well as three of his clients, including Jeanette Antolin of Huntington Beach. Watch the segment here:
USA Gymnastics, of course, is running scared and in full spin mode, with USA Gymnastics chairman and Lake Forest resident Paul Parilla issuing a YouTube video pretending to care about little girls in pretty boxes.
For more background on how this sex-abuse scandal has marred the OC gymnastics scene, check out the ever-excellent reporting of Orange County Register writer Scott M. Reid, who published a thorough piece on Antolin's story yesterday. Great job, Scott, and great job as always, Manly: keep up the hell-raising...