Team USA Climbing member: More investigations needed following child rape charges

A former Team USA Climbing member is facing three child rape charges following a Redmond investigation, but a current team member tells FOX 13 that more investigations are needed. 

The climber, who asked to remain anonymous, said there is concern within the climbing community that sexual assault allegations aren’t being taken seriously enough. They noted three other allegations that they personally had been made aware of, none of which have led to action. 

"You hear whispers of allegations against people – whether it’s coaches, whether it’s athletes -- and sometimes an athlete just disappears," they said. "It’s like they just dropped off the face of the earth. They may have qualified for competition, but they’re just not around anymore. It’s not like they’re injured, it’s someone who has had allegations against them."

Former member of USA Climbing Team arrested for child rape

Redmond Police arrested a former member of the USA Climbing Team on three charges of third-degree child rape.

Marc Norman, CEO of USA Climbing, tells FOX 13 News that the U.S. Center for SafeSport has been designated to respond to reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics movement, but did note they are aware of allegations outside the recent bombshell case involving Alex Fritz.

The story comes on the heels of news that Alex Fritz, a 28-year-old former U.S. National Team member, was charged with three counts of child rape. SafeSport contacted Redmond Police in 2021 alleging that Fritz was sexually involved with underage athletes – the group had compiled documents and interview regarding Fritz’s case. 

According to the findings, Fritz is accused of having sexual contact with an underage girl in Canada, Bothell, Mukilteo and Redmond.

"USA Climbing is aware of other allegations of misconduct in our sport, outside of the case in question, and provide information as requested by the Center or local authorizes," said Norman in a written statement to FOX 13 News.

USA Climbing said they couldn't comment further, but said any conduct reported to them would be relayed to SafeSport.

Asked whether any cases outside of Fritz are currently being investigated a SafeSport spokesperson declined to comment, citing best practices and federal law. 

"There are many reasons investigative agencies don't confirm investigations, one of which is trying to gather as much info as possible before certain parties are alerted," said a SafeSport spokesperson.

Despite the action taken on Fritz, the current Team USA climber tells FOX 13 that current members need to be looked at too. 

"In my opinion, things are being hidden," they said, "especially for athletes and coaches who are important to the organization."

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