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Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)
Larry Nassar trial
Saying the Olympic family had utterly failed to protect its own, the chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee announced an independent investigation Wednesday in Colorado Springs, Colorado, intended to determine how the sexual abuse attributed to former USA Gymnastics sports doctor Larry Nassar could have gone on as long as it did.
In what he called an open letter to Team USA, Scott Blackmun said the third-party investigation will attempt to determine "who knew what and when" when it comes to Nassar, who was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting seven women. Blackmun did not identify who would do the investigation or how long it would take, but he said the results will be made public.
Olympians Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber and Simone Biles were among more than 100 gymnasts who say they were abused by Nassar over the years. Many victims said there were others to blame for enabling Nassar, from his employers at Michigan State to USA Gymnastics and beyond. They laid out in searing and heart-wrenching detail the abuse and the lack of support they felt during a seven-day hearing in Michigan that culminated with Nassar's sentencing.
"The athlete testimony that just concluded in the Nassar hearings framed the tragedy through the eyes of the victims and survivors, and was worse than our own worst fears," Blackmun said. "The USOC should have been there to hear it in person, and I am deeply sorry that did not happen. The purpose of this message is to tell all of Nassar's victims and survivors, directly, how incredibly sorry we are. We have said it in other contexts, but we have not been direct enough with you. We are sorry for the pain caused by this terrible man, and sorry that you weren't afforded a safe opportunity to pursue your sports dreams. The Olympic family is among those that have failed you."
Nearly a year ago, USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny resigned under pressure from the USOC.
Blackmun said the immediate goals now are to change that culture. He noted that the USOC has been in talks with USAG since October and that new leadership was critical. In the past week, three USAG board members have resigned and the Indianapolis-based organization severed ties with the Karolyi Ranch in Texas, a longtime training site where many survivors said they were abused.
Blackmun said those steps were not enough and called for a "full turnover of leadership," including all current USAG directors.
MSU president resigns
Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon submitted her resignation amid an outcry over the school's handling of allegations against Nassar.
The announcement that Simon was stepping down came hours after the sentencing of Nassar, who worked at Michigan State as a doctor. Several of the victims who spoke at the hearing were former athletes at the school, and many victims accused the university of mishandling past complaints about Nassar.
State Attorney General Bill Schuette will review how Michigan State handled the allegations against Nassar. The NCAA has asked the school for information regarding potential violations related to Nassar.
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