The 1984 Summer Olympics was a shining moment for Southern California, while Mary Lou Retton's gold in the all-around in those games shined brightly on all athletics, gymnastics and certainly the U.S. women's team. You'd think nothing could come along 27 years later to tarnish either of those, but the sexual abuse allegations against coach Don Peters, who produced several national team players from his SCATS gym in Huntington Beach, have done just that.
The Orange County Register's Scott M. Reid broke the news of the allegations in a two-parter over the weekend. Doe Yamashiro, a former U.S. national team member who at SCATS in the 1980s, and a second, unnamed team member were reportedly 17 and 18 at the time of their supposed trysts with the now-62-year-old Peters. The coach is said to have started fondling Yamashiro when she was 16.
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An assistant coach claims Peters told her about the sexual encounters involving those gymnasts and a third who refused to confirm the accusations when reached by the Register.
Needless to say, the sport is taking the allegations seriously, with USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny saying they are under review and could subject Peters to a lifetime ban.
"Athlete safety is a top priority for USA Gymnastics, and sexual misconduct against minors is unacceptable and against USA Gymnastics policy," Penny said via USA Today. "USA Gymnastics takes seriously any written grievance regarding its professional members, especially those that could involve young athletes."
Peters' attorney told the Register Yamashiro never wanted to go public with any of this and that airing it now is an invasion of the coach's privacy.