Abuse and Sexual Assault
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for tennis, including regional affiliates, such as USTA NorCal in Northern California. Unfortunately, these very organizations have been under fire in recent years for failing to address sexual abuse in the sport.
In recent years, numerous lawsuits have been filed by young tennis players and their families across the country. These lawsuits allege that U.S. Tennis downplayed the sexual abuse in their sport, failed to perform background checks, and even tried to silence survivors.
The sexual abuse lawyers at Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, have been at the forefront of this fight, helping survivors seek justice. We want to hold USTA accountable for the harm they’ve caused and for the abuse our clients have suffered.Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers Hold U.S. Tennis Accountable
For decades, our sexual abuse lawyers have been holding sports organizations like US Tennis accountable. Attorneys Robert Allard and Lauren Cerri have advocated for significant changes in the sport. Recently, Mr. Allard and other advocates submitted a comprehensive 260-page document to members of Congress, highlighting serious concerns regarding USTA's handling of sexual abuse claims. This submission, backed by extensive USTA documents, underscores a disturbing pattern of negligence and indifference toward athlete safety, focusing on protecting the organization's image over the well-being of athletes.
The evidence presented shows USTA's reluctance to publicly identify known predator coaches, notably failing to prevent coach Normandie Burgos from committing sexual abuse, ultimately leading to his conviction and a 250-year prison sentence. The USTA's resistance to implementing protective measures mandated by the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee (formerly USOC) further illustrates its prioritization of legal liability over athlete safety. This approach has fostered an environment where boundary violations, including sexual harassment and assault, particularly against female players, have been allowed to escalate.Understanding Sexual Abuse in Tennis
At its core, sexual abuse in any setting, including sports, involves an unwanted sexual act or conduct directed at an individual without their consent. In the context of tennis, this can manifest in various forms, ranging from inappropriate comments and advances by those in authority to more overt acts of sexual violence and exploitation.
In the world of tennis, unique power dynamics are at play that can contribute to the prevalence of abuse. Coaches, team officials, and other authority figures significantly influence athletes' careers and development. This imbalance of power can create an environment where abuse may not only occur but also go unchallenged due to fear of retribution or negative consequences for the athlete's career. The close, often intense relationships between coaches and athletes, combined with the high-pressure environment of competitive sports, can blur boundaries and make it difficult for young athletes to recognize or report abuse.
For many athletes, tennis is not just a sport; it's a career, a passion, and a significant part of their identity. Coming forward with allegations of abuse can jeopardize their career and future. There is a palpable fear that speaking out might lead to losing sponsorships, diminished playing opportunities, strained relationships with coaches and teammates, or even outright ostracism from the tennis community. This fear can create a powerful barrier to reporting abuse and seeking justice.Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers Can Help
At Cerri, Boskovich & Allard, our dedicated legal team stands firmly alongside survivors of sexual abuse in the tennis community, offering a supportive path to speaking out and holding abusers, as well as organizations like the USTA, accountable. For many survivors, breaking the silence and pursuing justice is crucial in their healing journey. Our lawyers provide a safe and confidential space where survivors can share their stories without fear of judgment or public exposure. Call us today to discuss your legal options.