USA Gymnastics Approved Cover Stories For Larry Nassar Amid Sex Abuse Probe

25 May, 2018, 05:46 | Author: Arnold Perez
  • U.S. Congress panel to grill Olympic officials on preventing sex abuse

USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry testifies before the House Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Wednesday.

Perry, who took over the non-profit that governs the sport after its previous president resigned under fire, will appear before a congressional subcommittee investigating the ability of the Olympic movement to protect athletes from predators.

Susanne Lyons, acting chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said her organization had taken steps to reform the system, including doubling its funding for the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which was created a year ago to prevent abuse in sports.

"This is appalling and unacceptable", Lyons said. "She only apologized to Nassar victims, from what I saw today".

Timothy Hinchey, president and CEO of USA Swimming, said his organization "acknowledges and deeply regrets the abuse suffered by children, athletes, and other participants in swimming programs".

A slew of emails reveal obtained by the Indy Star reveal that USA Gymnastics covered for the former doctor for months and did not reveal to any athletes or their parents that Nassar faced investigation.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun also stepped down amid calls for his resignation.

Nassar was sentenced to life in prison this year on evidence he allegedly molested about 250 women and girl athletes who sought medical treatment from him.

Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney have all come forward and said they were victims of Nassar's abuse.

Last week, Michigan State University, where Nassar operated from as a physician, announced an agreement to pay out at least $500 million in settlements to his 332 victims after two days of mediation in California.

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Olympian Ariana Kukors Smith filed a lawsuit this week against her former coach and USA Swimming.

CEO Shellie Pfohl of the US Center for SafeSport spoke Wednesday during a hearing that had one representative choking back tears and another screaming at the witnesses.

The SafeSport Center is charged with investigating allegations of sexual abuse within the 49 national governing sports bodies in the United States. Now, after Larry Nassar's high-profile conviction, it is now receiving 20-30 complaints per week.

In her statement, Perry apologized for those harmed by Nassar, adding that she heard many of them give statements during his sentencing. Numerous abuse scandals have exposed insufficient communication and inconsistent policies across these sports organizations, with claims falling through the cracks.

"We do hold ourselves responsible, and if there's a failing, it's from not properly exercising our authority", she said.

Gregg Harper, a Republican congressman from MS, said there had been a "systematic failure" to protect athletes and it would take a "Herculean effort to regain the trust of athletes, their families and the American people".

"Athlete safety must be the top priority of the USOC", Harper said.

DeGette expressed hope that the changes promised by the governing bodies were not "window-dressing" but a step down "the road to real change".

"Congress created the USOC, and they can end the USOC", said attorney Jon Little, who has represented many surivors of sexual abuse in lawsuits against the USOC over the years.

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