Olympic Committee Gives USA Gymnastics An Ultimatum Over Sex Abuse Scandal

The U.S. Olympic Committee is giving USA Gymnastics’ board of directors six days to resign or else have the entire organization stripped of its certification as a national governing body.

The call for the board’s resignation is one of six requirements that the USOC has handed to USAG in an attempt to completely reform the organization in the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandal involving Larry Nassar. The requirements were listed in a letter from USOC CEO Scott Blackmun to USAG’s board of directors.

The letter was reviewed by USA Today and obtained by BuzzFeed.

The first three requirements focus on the board’s resignation and the selection of a new board. The current board has six days to resign and an interim board needs to be established by Feb. 28.

USOC is also launching an independent investigation into USAG to find out who knew about Nassar’s rampant sexual abuse of female gymnasts, who should’ve known, and which officials failed to report the allegations.

According to Blackmun, an interim board must be selected a new board must be seated within 12 months. Requirements also include having a USOC-designated liaison present at all USAG board meetings, progress reports and an independent investigation into the extent of Larry Nassar’s abuse.

“Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding,” Blackmun wrote to the baord. “This was the overarching finding in the Daniels report and it was demonstrated again in the recent testimony of Nassar’s victims.”

The Deborah Daniels’ Report, which Blackmun referred to, is the result of a six-month independent investigation commissioned by USAG and aimed at fixing problems within the organization. In June, Daniels, a former prosecutor, gave 70 recommendations to the organization, including prohibiting adult members from being alone with minor gymnasts.

Blackmun’s letter was submitted one day after Nassar, the 54-year-old disgraced sports doctor, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for child sexual abuse. Nassar is accused of sexually assaulting more than one hundred athletes, including many Olympic gymnasts, under the guise of medical treatment. 

During a week of victim impact statements, many of Nassar’s victims harshly criticized the leaders of USAG and Michigan State University, where Nassar worked, for allowing the doctor to continue treating athletes even while he was being investigated for sexual abuse.

On Monday, the chair, vice chair and treasurer of USAG resigned. The board of directors consists of 21 members. 

In his letter to the board, Blackmun said that USAG must cooperate with an independent investigation looking into “exactly who knew and who should have known of USAG athlete reports of abuse by Dr. Nassar (and when) and did not report these allegations appropriately.” The investigation will also look into “systematic failures that may have contributed to these failures to report.” 

Over 140 women have accused Nassar of sexual abuse, including Olympic gymnasts Aly RaismanGabby DouglasMcKayla Maroney and Simone Biles. Court documents revealed that Nassar used the cover of medical treatments to fondle and digitally penetrate the gymnasts while he was the team doctor for USAG and MSU sports teams.

In her victim impact statement, Raisman lashed out against her abuser in a powerful speech.

“Larry, you do realize now that we ― this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time ― are now a force and you are nothing,” Raisman said. “The tables have turned, Larry. We are here and we are not going anywhere.”

Read Blackmun’s full letter, as obtained by BuzzFeed, below.

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