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USOC calls sex-trafficking lawsuit ‘calculated to offend’

By: Eddie Pells, The Associated Press
May 10, 2018 Updated: May 10, 2018 at 12:08 pm
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File- This Aug. 22, 2008, file photo shows Steven Lopez of the US, right, celebrating with his brother and coach Jean after defeating Azerbaijan's Rashad Ahmadov in a bronze medal match for the men's taekwondo -80 kilogram class at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing. USA Today reported Friday, June 9, 2017, that USA Taekwondo began investigating claims against Steven and Jean Lopez more than two years ago after multiple women said the brothers sexually assaulted them. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

DENVER — A U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman is portraying a sex-trafficking lawsuit filed against the federation as one “calculated to provoke and offend” rather than seek justice.

Last week, four taekwondo athletes sued the USOC and USA Taekwondo, alleging they allowed athletes to train and compete with “known predator coaches.” They listed two-time gold medalist Steven Lopez and his brother, Jean, in the lawsuit, as well. Both are under investigation by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said that while criticism of the case does not extend to the athletes who are suing, the complaint, “appears to be a cynical attempt by counsel to subvert important protective laws with the goal of sensationalizing this case.”

Also recently, Martha and Bela Karolyi sued the USOC seeking damages for the canceled sale of their famed Texas training center — a transaction that tanked in the wake of sex-abuse cases involving team doctor Larry Nassar.

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