The USA Gymnastics program suspended a Chapel Hill man from its ranks as he faces several charges of sexual abuse against children.
The national governing body for the sport told WRAL Stephen Maness, who owns Bull City Gymnastics in Durham, will not be allowed to have any contact with USA Gymnastics-affiliated athletes and events amid investigations into alleged criminal actions. Authorities arrested Maness on February 16 on charges of indecent liberties with a minor and sexual battery against three victims under the age of 16.
Court documents accessed after Maness’ arrest detail three victims’ experiences, including one that claims abuse began in August 2012 and lasted until March 2020. Two other victims told investigators their alleged abuse spanned from January 2015 to November 2019. WRAL reports the documents do not indicate whether these alleged incidents happened at the Bull City Gymnastics gym.
The Better Business Bureau’s profile of the Chapel Hill Gymnastics company off Eubanks Road lists a Stephen Maness as the principal contact for the business.
He left the Durham County Detention Center after posting a $10,000 bond last week and made his first appearance in court on the charges Monday.
USA Gymnastics is continuing to address longstanding sexual abuse of its members by coaches, doctors and staff members across the country. The organization’s website says it “has and will continue to take specific and concrete steps to promote athlete safety and prevent future abuse by vigorously enforcing the USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Policy.” Elements of the policy include mandatory reporting of sexual misconduct, definitions of six types of misconduct, standards meant to prohibit grooming behavior and inappropriate action and more.
The governing body has a toll-free number dedicated to reporting or discussing sexual misconduct in USA Gymnastics, which is 833-844-SAFE. There are online options to report abuse too, which include using the safe sport email address and reporting through the website. The National Gymnastics Foundation also established the Athlete Assistance Fund to provide financial resources to gymnasts for counseling services if they suffered sexual abuse within the sport.
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