Evidence-Tampering Charges Against Former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny Dismissed

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 26, 2022

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 5, 2018, file photo, former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny invokes his right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer questions during a Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, on Capitol Hill in Washington. In a statement late Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, the Walker County district attorney's office in Huntsville, Texas, said that Penny has been arrested after a Texas grand jury indicted him, alleging he tampered with evidence in the sexual assault investigation of now-imprisoned gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Penny now awaits extradition to Texas. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Evidence-tampering charges filed against former USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny were dismissed last week.

"There is now insufficient evidence to prosecute according to current law and facts present in the case," a dismissal letter filed by the court on April 14 read, per ESPN's John Barr and Dan Murphy.

Walker County Texas District Attorney Will Durham declined to offer further comment.

Penny was accused of instructing USA Gymnastics employees to remove documentation related to former team doctor Larry Nassar from the Karolyi Ranch in Texas. According to the original indictment, Penny was aware Nassar was under investigation for serial sexual assaults.

Former USAG national team travel manager Amy White said Penny "instructed her that same day to go to a local department store to purchase a suitcase, large enough to take medical forms, rooming lists, flash drives and anything else with Nassar's name on it to the USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis."

Investigators said that once they were able to conduct a search, the documents left at the ranch "appeared incomplete."

Nassar sexually assaulted at least 265 women and girls during his time as USA Gymnastics lead doctor. After being convicted on criminal counts across multiple cases, Nassar is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee agreed to pay Nassar's victims a settlement of $380 million in December. Several USA Gymnastics employees were accused of engaging in a cover-up of Nassar's actions, leading to sweeping changes in the organization.

Rachael Denhollander, who initially reported Nassar's sexual assaults in 2016, criticized the decision to have Penny's charges dismissed.

"It's a very clear picture, one more time, of why survivors don't report and why abuse is enabled," Denhollander said. "Every time survivors see something like this happen it's retraumatizing. For survivors everywhere, it's a slap in the face."

Penny resigned from USA Gymnastics in March 2017.