USA Curling has said it is "reviewing a report" concerning allegations made against its current CEO, Jeff Plush, dating back to his time at the National Women's Soccer League (NSWL) commissioner.
National media reports on Tuesday state Plush is accused of ignoring and helping hide "pervasive" and "systemic" abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in the NWSL when he was commissioner between 2015-2017.
Plush was hired as CEO of the United States Curling Association – based at the Viking Lakes campus in Eagan, Minnesota – in February 2020.
USA TODAY reports United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a letter sent to staff the findings discovered by former U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates were "appalling."
Plush was accused by several players who alerted the league and U.S. Soccer that they were abused by their coaches in various ways, not limited to "verbal tirades, retaliation, sexual harassment and sexual coercion." Owners, executives, and coaches at all levels failed to act on years of frequent reports of abuse by coaches, according to the New York Times.
Some of the coaches found to be abusive and predatory were able to get new jobs elsewhere without any questioning of their past roles.
Some of the accusations include:
- Asking a player to come over to a coach's house to watch game film but instead watch pornography, with the coach exposing himself and groping players if they did something wrong in the match.
- Coaches coercing players into sexual relationships.
- Creating a "sexualized team environment" that involved speaking to youth players about their sex lives.
USA Curling said it commissioned its own independent investigation when it became aware of the U.S. Soccer probe last October, to determine if Plush "acted in accordance with prioritizing the safety of athletes."
The organization says it "found that to be the case."
Of the release of U.S. Soccer's findings, the USA Curling board met on Monday for a "thorough review and discussion regarding the current investigative report."
"The Board will navigate forward in a way that reviews fact and prioritizes safety for all," USA Curling said in a statement.
The organization added that it "will continue to work as hard as we can to ensure safety for all athletes and participants within our sport of curling."
The Grand National Curling Club of America, Inc. (GNCC) sent a letter to USA Curling in October 2021 recommending the organization place Plush on administrative leave due to the pending investigations.
The USOPC has had similar abuse scandals come to light, such as the notorious case involving Larry Nassar, a former team physician for USA Gymnastics.
Bring Me The News reached out to Plush for comment on Tuesday.
To see the full report, click here.