A court ruling in the United States has put pressure on USA Taekwondo and other National Governing Bodies (NGB) to better protect young athletes from sexual abuse.
The California State Supreme Court ruled that USA Taekwondo had a legal duty to guard athletes against sexual abuse.
The ruling comes after a lawsuit was brought by taekwondo athletes Yasmin Brown, Kendra Gatt and Brianna Bordon against USA Taekwondo.
Former USA Taekwondo coach Marc Gitelman was found guilty in 2015 of unlawful sexual intercourse with Brown and a lewd or lascivious act involving Gatt and was sentenced to four years and four months in prison.
A sum of $60 million (£43.3 million/€51 million) was awarded to the three athletes in 2017.
Yesterday, the California State Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that found that the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) did not have a duty to protect the athletes.
The court also reaffirmed the decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeal that ruled USA Taekwondo could be held liable for the harm caused by Gitelman, with whom the organisation was deemed to have "a special relationship."
After the hearing, Stephen Estey, who represents one of the three sexually abused athletes said: "For decades, the USOPC’s National Governing Bodies have refused to implement necessary safeguards to keep athletes safe from predatory coaches.
"This ruling will force the 61 NGB’s overseen by the USOPC to place the safety of youngsters over money and medals."
Law firms Estey and Bomberger and Corsiglia, McMahon and Allard are spearheading the legal efforts on behalf of the sexually abused athletes.
"NGBs can no longer 'turn a blind eye' and blame small clubs which are in most instances underinsured, underfunded and mostly run by volunteer parents," said Attorney Robert Allard.
"Minor athletes in the Olympic Movement are far better protected now than they were in the past because NGB’s, now facing significant legal exposure if they fail to do the right thing, will be highly motivated to strengthen its child protection systems."
Estey added: "The ruling will make NGBs think twice about taking money from local clubs without providing a safe environment for kids, free of predatory coaches."
NGBs oversee amateur sport and receive funding from the USOPC.
USA Swimming and USA Gymnastics are among other NGBs that have been hit by allegations of abuse.
"While this is a significant finding, and sets a standard for other cases, we are committed to playing an important role in leading the Olympic and Paralympic community in better protecting athletes, and preventing and addressing abuse wherever it may occur," a statement from USOPC read in a report by the Los Angeles Times.
More than 350 women are thought to have been abused by former USA Gymnastics' team doctor Larry Nassar, who was given an effective life sentence by a Michigan court in 2018.
The Nassar scandal triggered a host of independent reviews of the USOPC, including the one carried out by the Borders Commission.
The US Senate also recently passed a bill aimed at Congressional oversight of the US Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
Last year six women filed lawsuits alleging that USA Swimming failed to protect them from sexual abuse from coaches Mitch Ivey, Everett Uchiyama and Andy King.