Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Wednesday calling on the Senate to establish a committee to investigate the role of the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics in addressing the sexual abuse of hundreds of girls by former team doctor Larry Nassar .
Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison earlier Wednesday after over 150 women delivered victim impact statements about the abuse during his trial. He pled guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual misconduct. Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and McKayla Maroney were among those who said Nassar molested them under the guise of medical treatment.
In her letter, Shaheen said that “this was not a case of negligence or failed oversight on the part of the USOC and USA Gymnastics. These organizations have serious questions to answer, including why they allowed this criminal behavior to occur, and they need to answer these questions publicly before a Select Committee of the Senate.”
“The USOC is a federally chartered institution and its athletes compete under the American flag,” Shaheen continued, “so the Senate has a clear responsibility to expand this investigation beyond the narrow criminal charges adjudicated in Michigan … Authorization for this investigation must include subpoena power to compel the two organizations to produce relevant documents and internal communications.”
Aly Raisman called attention Monday to the negligence of USA Gymnastics and the Olympic Committee in this case, pointing out that they ignored the allegations in August 2016 when they first came to light and refused to investigate.
Wednesday, Raisman renewed calls for an independent investigation into the matter and pointed out on the Today Show that Nassar did not even have a medical license in Texas where he was seeing the gymnasts.
According to my knowledge, Larry Nassar did not have a medical license in Texas where we trained for the Olympics. Where is the accountability? How could you allow this? @USAGym @TeamUSA https://t.co/yFWD0zSxCc— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) January 25, 2018
USA Gymnastics Chairman Paul Parilla, vice chair Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley all announced they were resigning Monday.
The organization said in a statement Wednesday that “USA Gymnastics supports an independent investigation that may shine light on how abuse of the proportion described so courageously by the survivors of Larry Nassar could have gone undetected for so long and embraces any necessary and appropriate changes. USA Gymnastics and the USOC have the same goal – making the sport of gymnastics, and others, as safe as possible for athletes to follow their dreams in a safe, positive and empowered environment.”