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Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana)


Steve Penny, the former president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, has been indicted on a felony count of tampering with evidence, according to a news release from the Walker County criminal district attorney's office in Texas.

The U.S. Marshals Smoky Mountain Fugitive Task Force arrested Penny Wednesday in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The 54-year-old is accused of ordering the removal of documents from the Karolyi Ranch in Texas "for the purpose of impairing the ongoing investigation by destroying or hiding the documents," according to the release.

"Mr. Penny is confident that when all the facts are known it will be shown that he did nothing criminal," his attorney, Edith Matthai, told IndyStar in an email.

During their investigation, the Texas Rangers and Walker County sheriff's office learned documents were removed from the Karolyi Ranch and delivered to USA Gymnastics' headquarters in Indianapolis. It is unclear what happened to the records after that.

Penny resigned from USA Gymnastics in March 2017.

When IndyStar asked about the missing records last June, c declined comment "due to ongoing investigations and pending litigation." On Thursday, the national governing body said, "We support law enforcement's efforts and have fully cooperated with the investigations by the Texas Rangers, Congress and others, and will continue do so to help the survivors and our community heal from this tragedy."

The Walker County criminal district attorney's office said investigators believe the records are "material to their investigation and that the removal of the records by Penny prevented them from reviewing documents that would have helped in their investigation" of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, "as well as assisted with the investigation of other offenses that may have occurred at the Karolyi Ranch."

Nassar was arrested after a 2016 IndyStar investigation exposed widespread sexual abuse problems at USA Gymnastics. He was sentenced in January to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Nearly 500 girls and women have come forward claiming they were abused by Nassar over more than two decades.

In a separate case, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges.

The removal of records from the Karolyi Ranch, which used to be USA Gymnastics' national team training center, first became public when U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, asked Rhonda Faehn during a subcommittee hearing whether USA Gymnastics destroyed or removed any medical records to conceal Nassar's misconduct.

Faehn, a former senior vice president at USA Gymnastics, said Penny ordered USA Gymnastics employee Amy White to remove medical records from the Karolyi Ranch and bring them to Indianapolis.

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October 19, 2018


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