A petition is calling for the resignation of the USAWP leadership ©Getty Images

A petition launched by former athletes is calling for the resignation of USA Water Polo (USAWP) chief executive Christopher Ramsey and chairman Michael Graff after a report found they failed to report allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement.

The petition cites a "lack of transparency" and an "unacceptable" pattern of behaviour from Ramsey and Graff. 

It points to a report in the Orange County Register (OCR) from October 27, which indicated that Ramsey was "informed of multiple allegations of sexual abuse of USA Water Polo athletes, who were minors, involving a USAWP registered and certified coach" in 2017. 

According to the report, Ramsey referred the matter to SafeSport, which banned the coach in question for life after a 20-month investigation. 

He did not report the matter to the law enforcement, however, and did not immediately suspend the coach. 

In addition, the OCR report found USAWP was named in a 2014 civil lawsuit identifying the same coach as an alleged sexual abuser.

The petition claims this made "USAWP and Ramsey’s failure to act appropriately and responsibly in 2017 even more inexplicable, egregious, and unacceptable in this light."

As of today, 732 people have signed the petition. 

This includes three-time Olympian Christopher Duplanty, two-time Olympian Andrew McDonald and Olympic alternate Rachel Scott Ruano.

Both Duplanty and Ruano were also assistant coaches for the US Olympic women’s team.

Duplanty helped the team clinch silver at Sydney 2000, while Ruano was part of the set-up for the team that claimed bronze at Athens 2004. 

The petition calls for the resignation of USA Water Polo chief executive Christopher Ramsey ©Twitter
The petition calls for the resignation of USA Water Polo chief executive Christopher Ramsey ©Twitter

According to SwimSwam, USAWP has launched an investigation into the petition and cast doubt on the reliability of the campaign. 

"We have learned from a member of our staff that she was added as a signatory to this petition without her permission," the governing body said. 

"In light of this, we have serious concerns about the agenda of the parties behind the petition and whether the parties purportedly supporting the petition in fact do so.  

"As a consequence, we have launched an investigation regarding the petition." 

USAWP also reaffirmed its commitment to prioritising the health and safety of its athletes. 

"The organisation’s top priority is the health and safety of its athletes so that they can achieve optimal performance in the sport," USAWP added.

"As a service organisation, USA Water Polo has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. 

"In full compliance with the Amateur Sports Act and in cooperation with the US Center for SafeSport, USA Water Polo has formally adopted rules of conduct and grievance procedures for enforcing its rules that strictly address abuse and, through the Center, provide instant, anonymous methods for reporting abuse of any type.

"USA Water Polo is wholly committed to sustaining an environment where athletes can focus on their performance to compete safely, and we are proud to have achieved this with a 100 per cent compliance rating by the US Center for SafeSport’s auditors."