US Senators Demand Larry Nassar Scandal Answers from Olympics, USAG, MSU

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2018

Dr. Larry Nassar listens as a victim gives her impact statement during the seventh day of his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. Nassar has admitted sexually assaulting athletes when he was employed by Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which is the sport's national governing organization and trains Olympians. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

United States Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut)—the chairman and ranking member of the committee responsible for the safety of NCAA, Olympic and USA Gymnastic athletes—have called on USAG and Michigan State University officials to explain their failure to protect gymnasts from convicted sexual offender Larry Nassar. 

The senators released a statement Thursday, one day after Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for decades of sexual abuse against young female gymnasts.

"The despicable actions of the former USAG team doctor and sports medicine physician at MSU are well documented," the statement read. "However, recent reports and revelations from Dr. Nassar's sentencing hearings provide ample evidence that USAG and MSU were negligent in acting on reports of Nassar's abuse of more than 140 young women."

The senators said the non-disclosure agreement McKayla Maroney signed with USGA, which imposed a $100,000 fine if she talked about her abuse publicly, was of "particular concern." Maroney violated the NDA when she publicly came forward as a victim of Nassar's abuse last year. USAG has since lifted the fine amid public outcry. 

Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon announced her resignation Wednesday, hours after Nassar's sentencing. 

"As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable," Simon said in her resignation letter. "As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger. I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements. Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first.

"I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement."

USAG president Steve Penny resigned in March of last year amid the scandal. U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Scott Blackmun called on all 18 executives in USAG to resign in an open letter Wednesday.

Nassar pleaded guilty to decades of abuse that took place across multiple locations while serving as the team doctor for USA Gymnastics and the sports physician at Michigan State. He has also been convicted on child pornography charges. 

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