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Steven Lopez, Olympic taekwondo champion, removed from banned list

Lopez Brothers-Investigation

File-This Aug. 19, 2016, file photo shows Steven Lopez of the United States being kicked by Oussama Oelslati of Tunisia during a men’s 80 kg taekwondo bronze medal contest at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. USA Today reported Friday, June 9, 2017, that USA Taekwondo began investigating claims against Steven and Jean Lopez more than two years ago after multiple women said the brothers sexually assaulted them. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)


DENVER (AP) — Olympic taekwondo champion Steven Lopez won arbitration Monday in a sexual-misconduct case and had his name removed from the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s banned list.

Lopez was permanently banned in September for sexual misconduct involving a minor. He has denied the allegations.

This marks the first case to be overturned by arbitration in the 21-month history of the center. SafeSport spokesman Dan Hill said arbitration is part of the center’s “code that is built on fairness and has a process for both parties.”

Lopez’s brother and coach, Jean Lopez, remains on the interim restricted list.

The Lopezes are named as defendants in a sex-trafficking lawsuit filed against the SafeSport center, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Taekwondo.

The lawsuit alleges the organizations were long aware that the Lopezes were sexual predators but kept sending young women with them to competitions and practices.

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