Civil trial against USA Gymnastics has start date in Effingham Co.

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - After more than a year of depositions and hearings, the first civil trial against USA Gymnastics now has a start date in Effingham County.

The case involved USAG sanctioned coach William McCabe, who is convicted of sexual misconduct with a young girl he was coaching at the time.

In the suit, local attorneys, Jeff Lasky and Brian Cornwell claim USAG had a duty to protect young girls being coached by their own coaches. And that USAG, which governs the sport and trains all Olympic gymnasts, put medals and money ahead of the safety of thousands of girls by ignoring complaints about pedophiles in their ranks.

"What USAG, the USOC, all the governing bodies did is they put money and medals over the safety of their kids. And it was just as clear as you could see it from talking with these people they'd hide behind their policy. But if you followed the money, then you could see very easily that it was all about protecting sponsorships, and winning gold medals. And if children were hurt in the process, so be it," Lasky said.

"It was astonishing to see an organization that has the monopoly on the USA Olympic Dream treat their member athletes the way they were treated," Cornwell said. "It's sickening to see what they did to the 10, 11, 12-year-old girls who reported these instances."

The trial in Effingham State Court will begin on April 16 and is expected to take about a week.

If USA Gymnastics loses this case, it could open the door for hundreds of other lawsuits from gymnasts who also claim they were sexually abused by their coaches.

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