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US soccer star Hope Solo accuses Sepp Blatter of sexual harassment

Former US goalkeeper Hope Solo has said ex-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter groped her backside during the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony. Sexual harassment wasn't just a problem in Hollywood but in women's football as well, she said. Hope Solo, a star goalkeeper and former member of the US football team, accused former FIFA President Sepp Blatter of sexually harassing her, in an interview published on Friday. "Sepp Blatter grabbed my ass, it was a few years ago at the Ballon d'Or ceremony just before I got on stage," Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso. Read more: Louis C.K., Steven Seagal latest stars to face sexual assault allegations The 36-year-old soccer star said that 81-year-old Blatter made the move as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach at the ceremony. Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, said that sexual harassment in sport was "rampant" and that she hoped more athletes would speak out against it. "I wish more women, especially in football, would speak against it, about their experiences," she told the paper. Read more: Kevin Spacey sex assault allegations mount as UK police launch probe "I think it is important to acknowledge that this doesn't just happen with the powerful white men. It can happen all across the board, it can happen between women," she continued. "It's out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere," Solo said, referencing the wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations against high-profile men in entertainment and politics, which was triggered by a scandal involving movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Blatter dismissed Solo's claims, telling the Guardian newspaper that the allegation "is ridiculous." Blatter has a history of sexist behavior when it comes to women's soccer. In 2004, he argued that the popularity of the women's game could be boosted if the players wore tighter shorts. In 2012, US forward Alex Morgan said that Blatter failed to recognize her during that year's Ballon d'Or, even though she was one of three nominees for the women's Player of the Year. The former FIFA head was suspended from office and banned from the sport for six years in 2015 following a corruption scandal.

Former US goalkeeper Hope Solo has said ex-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter groped her backside during the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony. Sexual harassment wasn’t just a problem in Hollywood but in women’s football as well, she said. Hope Solo, a star goalkeeper and former member of the US football team, accused former FIFA President Sepp Blatter of sexually harassing her, in ... Read More »

Gold-medal-winning gymnast Tatiana Gutsu adds voice to #MeToo campaign

Tatiana Gutsu, who won gymnastics gold at the 1992 Olympics, has joined the growing number of women sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment on social media. A former USA gymnast has also spoken out. The now 41-year-old Gutsu, who was the all-around champion at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, used a post on her Facebook account on Tuesday to accuse a former teammate and fellow gold medalist of raping her when she was 15 years old. In the post, Gutsu (pictured above in 1992) alleges that Vitaly Scherbo raped her in 1991 during a competition in Stuttgart. She described Scherbo as a "monster who kept me in my own prison to be afraid for so many years." The claim comes amid thousands of similar ones from women all over the globe who have used the Twitter hashtag #MeToo to report experiences of sexual harassment or assault. The hashtag is thought to have been started by American actress Alyssa Milano. Fellow former Soviet competitors Rustam Sharipov, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, and Tatyana Toropova also drew criticism from Gutsu in the post for a perceived lack of support. 17 Oct Gutsu and Scherbo competed for the Unified Team at the 1992 Games. The team drew athletes from a wide pool in the former Soviet Union's Olympic program, which produced more than a thousand Olympic medalists between 1952 and 1991. Gutsu retired soon after her win in Barcelona and moved to the United States. She now works as the head coach of the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team. Scherbo also lives in the United States and operates a gymnastics school in Las Vegas. Maroney comes forward Meanwhile, McKayla Maroney, a two-time medalist at the 2012 Olympics in London, has said she was molested for years by a former USA Gymnastics team doctor. In a statement posted via her Twitter account, Maroney, 21, said that the abuse had begun in her early teens and continued for the rest of her competitive career. The doctor Maroney accused, Larry Nassar spent three decades working with athletes at USA Gymnastics but now is in jail in Michigan awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Nassar is also awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges and has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges, and the dozens of civil suits filed in Michigan are currently in mediation.

Tatiana Gutsu, who won gymnastics gold at the 1992 Olympics, has joined the growing number of women sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment on social media. A former USA gymnast has also spoken out. The now 41-year-old Gutsu, who was the all-around champion at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, used a post on her Facebook account on ... Read More »

Germany warns Russia against using teen ‘rape’ case for political ends

Berlin has asked Russia not to politicize a Russian-German teen's potential rape after comments from Russia's foreign minister. The girl told lawyers she was abducted and raped by migrants two weeks ago. "There is no reason, in fact it is not acceptable, to instrumentalize this process politically," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told journalists in Berlin on Monday. The judicial authorities responsible for the case should investigate the matter "in peace and without being bothered from outside," he said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had earlier accused Berlin authorities of trying to cover up the case. "It is clear that the girl did not voluntarily disappear for 30 hours," he said. The case in question is the alleged kidnapping of a 13-year-old German girl of Russian origin. The girl, identified only as Lisa, said she was kidnapped on January 11 by three men, who looked "southern" and spoke broken German. Her lawyer says the kidnappers took her to an apartment where they abused and raped her. Police, however, recently said they had not yet found evidence to support the rape claim. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier similarly urged Russia to await further evidence from the difficult case. "There is no reason and no justification for using the case of this 13-year-old girl, which has yet to be fully explained, for political propaganda," Steinmeier said, also seeking to assure Moscow that German authorities were working non-stop on ascertaining what took place. The minister advised Russia's government not to rely on media reports on the issue, saying German authorities would keep Russia's ambassadors personally abreast of the latest developments. Protests in Berlin, echoes of Cologne The incident sparked outrage in Russian media, with members of the far right accusing police of attempting to cover up crimes committed by refugees. Some also drew parallels with the German police's initial silence after sex attacks by North African migrants on hundreds of women in Cologne on New Year's Eve. The case prompted hundreds of Russian Germans (pictured above) to protest in Berlin over the weekend, calling for their children to be protected from "migrant violence." They were backed by supporters of "Bärgida," the Berlin branch of the Pegida movement. Police are still investigating events that happened two weeks ago. The only thing which was clear was that the 13-year-old had gone missing. She has accused three men of abducting and raping her, although police have found no evidence of the latter. However, police have spoken about indications of her having sexual contact with a person she knew. Investigators are now looking into possible sexual abuse.

Berlin has asked Russia not to politicize a Russian-German teen’s potential rape after comments from Russia’s foreign minister. The girl told lawyers she was abducted and raped by migrants two weeks ago. “There is no reason, in fact it is not acceptable, to instrumentalize this process politically,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told journalists in Berlin on Monday. The ... Read More »

Top Israeli official resigns following accusations of sexual assault

Israel's deputy prime minister, Silvan Shalom, has stepped down and says he's quitting politics for good. His decision comes as several women accused him of sexual molestation. Shalom said on Sunday he was stepping down from his dual position as Israel's Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister after several women went public with accusations that he had sexually molested them. Israel's attorney general is currently investigating the claims, which have come from at least seven different women. The left-leaning daily Haaretz reported last week that several of the politician's female staff members had accused him of behaving inappropriately and at least one had claimed that Shalom had asked her to perform oral sex on him. Shalom issued a statement on Sunday saying that he was resigning. The scandal has rocked the country, as the 57-year-old is one of Israel's most famous politicians. His wife, the journalist Judy Nir-Moses, is also well-known. "My family stands behind me, but it is no longer worth the cost," he said in his statement, according to German news agency DPA. Shalom, who's a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu's Likud party, isn't the first Israeli official to be accused of sexual misconduct recently. Former Israeli President Moshe Katzav is currently serving jail time for rape.

Israel’s deputy prime minister, Silvan Shalom, has stepped down and says he’s quitting politics for good. His decision comes as several women accused him of sexual molestation. Shalom said on Sunday he was stepping down from his dual position as Israel’s Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister after several women went public with accusations that he had sexually molested them. ... Read More »

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