Saturday, September 25, 2021

Legacy family disappointed by SafeSport investigation into Anna Lee and Jianni Wu

Libby Bailey, assistant director of investigations for the US Center for SafeSport, wrote in July to the former gymnast and her parents at a suburban Chicago gymnastics club that SafeSport was in the “process of preparing a comprehensive final report” after a two-year investigation into the dozen. Was. According to an email obtained by, the 2012 US Olympic team and UCLA All-American, and her mother, Jianni Wu, an Olympic medalist for China and former USA Gymnastics national team coach, Anna Lee was charged with physical, verbal, and emotional allegations. for. Southern California Newsgroup.

“We ask that you be patient as we work through the information gathered in the investigation,” Bailey wrote in an email to gymnasts and parents on July 19. “We will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

Yet nearly two months later and more than two years later, the US Center for SafeSport received the first of at least 30 complaints by more than a dozen individuals, including one by Lee, Wu, and another coach, Rebecca Thon, in August. The gymnast was accused of repeated abuse. 2019, SafeSport has not issued any ruling in the matter.

“They said the investigation was over in July and we are in September. What’s going on?” Ed Fitzgerald, a former inheritance parent. “Inaction is basically the same as letting them off the hook. Inaction is giving them a free hand, saying that everything is fine.”

Documents obtained by SCNG and interviews with former gymnasts and their parents at the suburban Chicago club Legacy Elite Gymnastics, owned by the families of Lee and Wu, also contradict Bailey’s pledge to keep families updated on the status of the investigation.

Instead, according to SafeSport documents and interviews, Bailey and other U.S. Center for SafeSport officials responded to multiple emails and phone calls from parents, gymnasts, and their lawyers, if the center staff responded at all. It takes weeks and even months.

The parents said they haven’t heard from Bailey since the July 19 email, despite multiple requests for updates.

Gymnasts and parents said they were disappointed and angered by SafeSport’s refusal to place Lee and Wu on interim suspensions despite several complaints that coaches have continued to allegedly abuse and bully gymnasts since the center began in 2019. had jurisdiction over the matter, according to interviews and confidential complaints filed with SafeSport.

According to complaints and documents submitted to SafeSport, Lee, a former member of the influential USA Gymnastics Athletes Council, tried to intimidate a former legacy gymnast at a meeting in Illinois in March. According to SafeSport documents and interviews, the gymnast and her mother have filed a complaint with SafeSport alleging physical, verbal and emotional abuse by Lee and Wu.

According to documents and interviews, SafeSport has denied multiple requests to place Lee and Wu on interim suspensions. According to Fitzgerald, the most recent interim suspension request was made in April.

“You have a lot of serious, serious physical and emotional abuse allegations against families,” Fitzgerald said. “At what point are the rights of the victims (equal) the rights of the perpetrators? Because right now the rights of the victims are being violated (by the US Center for SafeSport) while the perpetrators have to run wild and nothing is done. Zero. It’s like everything is normal (inheritance), nothing is wrong.”

Bailey did not respond to a request for comment.

An attorney for Lee and Wu also did not respond to a request for comment. Lee and Wu have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Under the US Center for SafeSport Code, “retaliation against anyone for engaging in the center’s procedures is prohibited.”

“Retaliation,” the code states, “includes threatening, intimidating, harassing, coercing or any other conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in or participating in the processes of the Center when retaliation is legal in response. does not include a good faith action taken by him. A Code Violation Report.”

According to the documents, the code allows SafeSport to place individuals facing abuse charges on interim suspension, a protective measure pending the outcome of the investigation. Persons placed on interim suspension may request a hearing within 72 hours.

According to parents, the delay by the US Center for SafeSport in issuing a decision in the matter has also raised concerns among many former Legacy gymnasts. Several gymnasts who allege they were abused by Lee and Wu were included in a rotation similar to Legacy on October 1–3 at a high performance camp in Illinois.

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“My kids are really upset about this, they’re facing,” Fitzgerald said. “It has been hanging on these families for two years and now these (gymnasts) will have to face Anna and Gianni for the whole camp?

“Either you believe (dozens) of families or you believe their lies but take the decision. Then we can move on.”

The first complaint against Lee and Wu was filed with USA Gymnastics in July 2019. The US Center for SafeSport took jurisdiction over the case a month later.

The gymnasts and their parents allege that Lee humiliated gymnasts on a “daily basis” in front of her peers, regularly called girls fat, pressured injured athletes to train or compete, and in training Threatened to make negative remarks to the college coaches who recruited him if he struggled. Many gymnasts and parents and the US Center for SafeSport and USA Gymnastics were unable to train or compete because of injuries or illness, or appeared overweight, in Lee’s opinion, according to interviews with the US Center for SafeSport and USA Gymnastics documents.

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Wu pulled young gymnasts by her hair on several occasions when she was dissatisfied with their training, including at least one occasion when Wu allegedly pulled a girl from her ponytail to the ground, in interviews and several According to complaints from the US Center for the U.S. SafeSport and USA Gymnastics.

“The hair was pulled and the girls were constantly shamed,” one parent wrote in a formal complaint to SafeSport and USA Gymnastics.

Another parent, in a complaint with SafeSport and USA Gymnastics, said she saw her “pulling hair under the guise of physical coaching.”

Another complaint alleges that “tape was placed on the child’s mouth for 2 hours” by the coaches.

According to the complaint, Wu once pushed gymnast Riley Millbrandt while she was doing a handstand, causing her to crash into a balance beam. The complaint states that Millbrand was once forced to stand against a wall for two hours as a punishment and was told that he would not be coached or talked to by the coaches. The report said that Wu told other gymnasts in Millbrandt’s training group that they too would be forced to stand against a wall if they talked to their partner.

According to one complaint, if Lee or Wu felt that they were not working hard or improving, the girls were made to sit in an inflatable pool toy in the corner of the gym as a punishment.

According to several complaints, the gymnast was forced to train and compete when injured by Lee and Wu.

Legacy family disappointed by SafeSport investigation into Anna Lee and Jianni Wu
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