The United States Olympic Committee released an independent investigative report Monday that stated there was a lengthy period of time where some of the top USOC officials were aware of allegations of sexual abuse made against team’s long-time doctor Larry Nassar.
The comprehensive report, available online, was so devastating that the USOC fired chief of sport performance Alan Ashley after its release.
The 233-page document, which was commissioned by a Special Committee of the Board of Directors of the USOC, spoke to over 100 witnesses and reviewed over 1.3 million other documents, and came to the conclusion that some of the top members of the United States Gymnastics national team remained quiet as Nassar continued to have access to and see patients.
“Nassar’s sexual abuse of hundreds of girls and young women was a manifestation of a broader set of factors and conditions in elite gymnastics and Olympic sport that allowed the abuse to occur and then to continue uninterrupted for almost 30 years,” lead investigators Joan McPhee and James P. Dowden said in a press release. “The fact that so many different institutions and individuals failed to stop him does not excuse any of them, but instead reflects the collective failure to protect young athletes.”
In July 2015, then USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny informed USOC CEO Scott Blackmun — who resigned in February citing health concerns — and Ashley that gymnasts had “lodged sexual abuse allegations against (Nassar),” according to the report.
USAG then contacted the FBI, but it never went further than that. Both Blackmun and Ashley never did anything with the information they were provided until after Nassar’s actions were first made public by the Indianapolis Star in September 2016, the report stated.
“Neither Mr. Blackmun nor Mr. Ashley shared the information received from Mr. Penny with others in the organization, and the USOC took no action between July 2015 and the date the Indianapolis Star published its account of Nassar’s child sexual abuse.”
Nassar, who is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence on charges of child pornography and for molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment, was not working as the U.S. Gymnastic’s team doctor at that point in time, but the report went on to state that his absences were not truthfully explained.
“USAG acted almost immediately to provide false excuses for Nassar’s non-attendance at USAG events, thereby keeping the gymnastics community in the dark about the complaints of Nassar’s sexual abuse. USAG thereafter allowed Nassar to quietly retire under the pretense of a long and illustrious career.”
During this time, however, Nassar continued his practice at Michigan State University, where he treated college, high school and youth athletes.
“I’m appalled,” attorney Mick Grewal, who represents dozens of Nassar survivors, told Yahoo Sports. “I’m completely appalled that the adults that ran USAG and USOC did not take the appropriate measures or enact the appropriate policies and procedures to protect our young athletes. Instead, they allowed a culture to manifest.”
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The report also showed more collusion between Blackmun and Ashley. It stated both parties deleted a specific email that referenced Nassar. It also focused on Penny, who concealed information and was later indicted by a grand jury in Texas.
Penny requested medical records from the Karolyi Ranch, the team’s national training camp, to be shipped directly to USAG headquarters in Indianapolis. The documents were never sent.
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