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The Financial Express

USA Gymnastics board quits amid abuse scandal

| Updated: January 28, 2018 10:39:41


Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, is escorted into the courtroom during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, US, January 24, 2018. (REUTERS) Larry Nassar, a former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, is escorted into the courtroom during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, US, January 24, 2018. (REUTERS)

The remaining directors of the US gymnastics governing body are resigning in the wake of this week’s sentencing of the former national team doctor for molesting female athletes, USA Gymnastics said on Friday.

The doctor, Larry Nassar, was sentenced on Wednesday to between 40 and 175 years in prison by a judge in Lansing, Michigan, following a week of blistering statements in court by his victims including Olympic gold medal-winning gymnasts Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber and other female athletes.

He had pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges, reports Reuters news agency.

The US Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun on Thursday said USA Gymnastics would be stripped of its standing as a governing body if all board members did not quit, with a new interim board put in place by the end of February.

At least five of the 21 members already had resigned as a result of the scandal.

“USA Gymnastics will comply with the USOC requirements,” Leslie King, a spokeswoman for USA Gymnastics, said in an email.

The senior sports official at Michigan State University, where Nassar previously worked, announced his retirement on Friday.

The departure of Athletic Director Mark Hollis came two days after university President Lou Anna Simon stepped down under pressure. Both said they were unaware of Nassar’s abuse until it was reported publicly.

“Our campus, and beyond, has been attacked by evil, an individual who broke trust and so much more,” Hollis told a news conference, referring to Nassar.

“I‘m not running away from anything,” Hollis added, promising to cooperate with investigations into the matter.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, whose office prosecuted Nassar, confirmed on Twitter that the office is investigating the university.

US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced her department was investigating the university and will “hold MSU accountable for any violations of federal law.”

“What happened at Michigan State is abhorrent,” DeVos said.

Nassar, 54, was sentenced for sexually assaulting girls under the guise of medical treatment.

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee, in announcing its investigation, said sports organisations “must have mechanisms in place to ensure complete oversight and prevent such abuses from occurring.”

The House next week is due to vote on legislation passed by the Senate in November that would require amateur athletics governing bodies to report sexual-abuse allegations immediately to law enforcement or a child welfare agency.

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