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Entire board of USA Gymnastics resigns after enabling Nassar abuse

USAG received early reports of Nassar's abuse, but dragged its feet to take any action.

Credit:  (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Credit: (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

On Friday night, each of the 18-member board of USA Gymnastics resigned. USAG accepted an ultimatum put forth by the US Olympic Committee, which urged the board to resign or lose status as a governing body.

Executive board members began resigning from their posts on Monday, and by the end of the week, the USAG board had a completely empty boardroom.

USAG has been criticized as one of Larry Nassar’s biggest enablers. Nassar, formerly the USA Gymnastics doctor, was sentenced to 175 years in prison Wednesday after more than 150 women and girls came forward to tell their stories of sexual abuse at his hands.

In 2015, Nassar’s abuse was reported to executives at USA Gymnastics, but the organization took five weeks to report the abuse to the FBI. USAG also failed to notify Nassar’s other employer, Michigan State University, where Nassar served as athletic physician, of the multiple credible allegations of sexual abuse. USA Gymnastics allowed Nassar to portray his departure from that organization as a retirement.

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During and after the Nassar sentencing, Olympic gold winning gymnast and one of Nassar’s victims, Aly Raisman, called out both the USAG and USOC, demanding an investigation into how both organizations let the abuse continue for so long.

“I feel very strongly that unless and until an independent investigation is competed, we cannot be sure (1) we know the full extent of the problem, (2) that all the people who contributed to the problem have been removed and replaced, and (3) that the changes will effectively address the problem,” Raisman said in the statement.

Similarly at Michigan State University, university president Lou Anna Simon resigned amid pressure from both the Michigan state legislature and the university board of trustees to resign. Simon was told about a Title IX complaint filed against an unnamed physician at the school in 2014 — but she never followed up on that information, nor did she ask to see the final report, according to the Detroit News.

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In an April 2017 letter to the MSU Board of Trustees, Simon infamously shirked any responsibility for Nassar’s abuse saying, “I have been told it is virtually impossible to stop a determined sexual predator and pedophile, that they will go to incomprehensible lengths to keep what they do in the shadows.”

In a statement announcing her resignation on Wednesday night, Simon said:

“As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger…Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement.”