A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a resolution Wednesday that would establish a special committee to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics in light of the recent sex abuse scandal involving former team doctor Larry Nassar who molested over 250 girls under the guise of medical treatment.
The committee would determine the extent to which the organizations were “complicit in the criminal or negligent behavior of their employees relative to sexual abuse” and would identify “actions that must be taken by the USOC and national sports governing bodies, including USA Gymnastics, to ensure increased transparency and protections for children, athletes and their families.”
Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joni Ernst (R-IA) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are all co-sponsors of the resolution which is endorsed by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
Sen. Ernst said the time has come to "put an end to this type of outrageous abuse" saying lawmakers have a chance to "stand up for athletes" and "finally say enough is enough."
Sen. Stabenow said that the Olympic committee and USA Gymnastics have "let girls down and young women down over and over again."
"We know that similar things have happened across the country,” she said, “that's why it’s so important that we shine the light of day on this in terms of this committee and this investigation."
“The Olympics start in just a couple of days,” Sen. Scott said, “and every single athlete should know that we care, and that we’re paying attention. We take great pride in our Olympic athletes, and they should know that as they sacrifice so much to train and represent the United States of America on the world stage, they should be safe.”
“In this regard, USOC and the USA Gymnastics have clearly failed our athletes,” he emphasized. “My heart goes out to the women affected and their families. This investigation is so important because we should know what happened, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman called attention last month to the negligence of USA Gymnastics and the Olympic Committee in this case, during her victim impact statement at Nassar’s sentencing. She pointed out that the organizations ignored the allegations in August 2016 when they first came to light and refused to investigate.
On the Today show, Raisman renewed calls for an independent investigation into the matter and pointed out that Nassar did not even have a medical license in Texas where he was seeing the gymnasts.