Former Olympic doctor says he was fired for reporting sexually abusive conduct to USOPC bosses
Dr. Bill Moreau is seeking unspecified damages in his lawsuit
Dr. Bill Moreau, the former vice president of sports medicine of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, believes he was fired from the organization for daring to question how top executives handled sexual abuse reports and mental health concerns. This is according to a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit he launched Wednesday in district court for the city and county of Denver.
"Frankly, what I'm really worried about is, what if another kid gets raped and I didn't say something? What if another athlete kills himself and I didn't say something? Somebody has got to get the USOPC's attention to start listening and not breaking the law," Moreau told ESPN on Wednesday.
Moreau was dismissed from his position in May 2019 after working 10 years for what was known at the time as just the United States Olympic Committee -- the name change to include Paralympic athletes happened a month after his dismissal. The chiropractor most notably questioned how disgraced national team doctor Larry Nassar treated athletes at the London Games in 2012, raising flags when he saw Nassar treating members of the women's gymnastics team in their athlete's village condo, instead of the USOPC's central medical facility.
"In front of one of my colleagues, I told Larry Nassar to his face ... I told him it was safer for him ... I just said, you know, 'You need to treat in the big clinic where there's [sic] people around you ... and it's not good practice to treat people, juvenile females, in a one-on-one situation without a chaperone,'" Moreau said per ESPN.
Nassar is currently serving multiple life sentences for the sex crimes he committed during his time as a doctor for the USOPC and at Michigan State. The charges including sexual assault of minors, criminal sexual assault, possession of pornographic images of children, and tampering with evidence by destroying and concealing the images. A Michigan judge said in 2018 that the disgraced doctor had at least 265 known sexual abuse victims.
It wasn't just Nassar that Moreau went to higher-ups about, according to the lawsuit. His lawyers contend that his reporting of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old Paralympic athlete -- which only resulted in the offender, a 20-year-old male Paralympic athlete, getting suspended for "sexual misconduct involving a minor" -- created tension with his superiors. When Moreau later saw the report of the incident, he saw that USOPC officials checked off "No" in response to the question "Was a crime committed," the suit says.
There was also an incident he reported of a strength and conditioning coach sitting in a sauna naked that was located near a training session for the under-18 women's gymnastics team. The coach was not dismissed, but rather reprimanded orally, Moreau said.
One month after that, the former VP of sports medicine became aware of a suicidal athlete, three-time world champion and silver medalist Kelly Catlin, that needed immediate help. Moreau says that rather than respond with urgency, the USOPC formed a committee to discuss how the organization would help the athlete. The doctor tried to speak with Rick Adams, the USOPC's chief of high performance, about the situation on March 7, 2019 but saw that Adams was "nonresponsive" to his pleas. The next day, the athlete died by suicide.
Luella Chavez D'Angelo, the Olympic Committee's chief marketing and communications officer, gave the following response in a statement to the Denver Post: "We regret that Dr. Moreau and his attorney have misrepresented the causes of his separation from the USOPC. We will honor their decision to see this matter through in the courts, and we won't comment on the specifics as that goes forward."
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