USA Badminton CEO suspended by U.S. Center for SafeSport

January 8, 2024 / Athletic Administration
The CEO and board chairman of U.S. Badminton’s governing body have been suspended by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for their roles in an employee being allegedly advised not to report sexual abuse allegations.

USA Badminton CEO Linda French was suspended for five years after the Center’s investigation found she committed violations of SafeSport code. That included two counts of failing to report child abuse and/or sexual abuse as required, discouraging Alistair Casey, the national governing body’s SafeSport officer and chief of staff, from reporting that abuse and then firing Casey when he did.

safesportUSA Badminton’s board chairman Ken Wong received a two-year suspension for retaliating against Casey, according to confidential SafeSport documents.

A recent report from the Pasadena Star-News detailed the suspension and the ensuing fallout from the suspension.

Below is an excerpt from the Pasadena Star-News.

French is believed to be the first national governing body CEO to be suspended by SafeSport since 2018.

The documents detail how French, a two-time Olympian and now a Florida-based immigration attorney, discouraged Casey from reporting allegations that two young athletes had been abused by two different coaches. The SafeSport documents also found that French allowed Jon Little, the federation’s general counsel, to make claimants’ names public in October 2021.

The report also said that Casey was fired at USA Badminton “due in part” to his reporting the abuse allegations to SafeSport.

French acknowledged that she spoke to Casey shortly before leaving for Tokyo for the Olympic Games in July 2021 and admitted asking him “if he wanted to wait 30 days until after the Olympics” to file a complaint with SafeSport about the sexual abuse allegations against a coach because she might run into the coach and his grandchildren at the Games, according to SafeSport documents.

She said she never encouraged Casey not to report the allegations but did admit to saying reporting “would stir up trouble,” according to the report.

Casey proceeded to report the allegations to SafeSport and the case and Little’s role attracted Congressional attention and criticism. Casey later alleged he was fired as retaliation for reporting the allegations. USA Badminton secretly paid Casey $1 million in a settlement.

Little, who recently represented former Cal swim coach Teri McKeever in her case with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, filed a defamation case against Casey in U.S. District Court in Indiana in September. Little did not represent French or Wong in their SafeSport cases.

“The bottom line is that Alistair Casey is being untruthful and it’s sad to see the way he is selfishly destroying lives and careers,” Little said in a phone interview Friday. “And the bottom line is that the only person who knew about these allegations was Alistair Casey and I look forward to adjudicating all this in a real court.”

To read the full story from the Pasadena Star-News, click here.