USA Curling chair Lynn LaRocca and two other members of the board resigned Wednesday, marking the latest fallout from a sex-abuse investigation in women’s soccer that also resulted in the resignation of curling’s CEO, who led the soccer league during the time the abuse allegations were revealed.
LaRocca and board members Shane Coppola and Hawley McLean resigned five days after CEO Jeff Plush stepped down from the organization that runs Olympic curling in the U.S.
The new chair is Bret Jackson, a past president of the Detroit Curling Club who was elected to the board last month.
“Athletes, whether they are recreational or high performance, are who this organization needs to be dedicated to serving,” Jackson said. “I am volunteering to help be part of the change, and I hope many of my fellow grassroots curlers join me. Together we can show how special this sport and its people are.”
Curling’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force called for Plush’s removal last month. That came after an investigation into soccer by former U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates revealed that Plush was aware of abuse allegations against Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley when he led the National Women’s Soccer League but did not do anything to prevent Riley from coaching in the league.
The report also said Plush did not respond to requests for an interview as part of the investigation, which uncovered years of systemic emotional abuse and sexual misconduct.
In the immediate aftermath of the Yates report, USA Curling had said its own earlier investigation found Plush “acted in accordance with prioritizing the safety of athletes.” It said it would revisit the investigation in light of the Yates report.
What resulted was a major housecleaning of key decision-making positions at USA Curling.
Plush was replaced by interim CEO Dean Gemmell, who on Wednesday said “all of us at USA Curling pledge to listen, learn, and work with all our members to move the sport forward.”
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