Documents obtained by the Indianapolis Star have painted a troubling picture of USA Gymnastics’ complicity in aiding disgraced former team doctor Larry Nassar, guilty of staggering sexual misconduct with young gymnasts. According to emails, USA Gymnastics officials provided excuses for Nassar’s absence from major meets in 2015 rather than admit the truth: that Nassar was under investigation for child sexual abuse.
On two separate occasions, Nassar and an attorney for USA Gymnastics crafted cover stories for his absence. “Can we just say that i am sick? That would make more sense to everyone. Would that be ok?” Nassar wrote in one email, and the attorney concurred.
The documents are the first evidence that USA Gymnastics not only stayed silent after reporting Nassar to the FBI, but actively aided in a cover-up. At least 14 more gymnasts say they were abused after June 2015, which is when USA Gymnastics received what it says was an initial complaint about Nassar. Even after that complaint, Nassar continued to work at Michigan State, and was not added to a list of individuals banned from USA Gymnastics activities.
Nassar was arrested following a 2016 investigation by the IndyStar, and was sentenced earlier this year to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven counts of sexual misconduct. Since the initial revelations, more than 330 girls and women have charged they were abused by Nassar over the course of more than 20 years. USA Gymnastics still faces lawsuits over alleged failure to protect gymnasts from Nassar, and these emails will only stoke those suits.
The complete IndyStar report on the email exchange between Nassar and USA Gymnastics is thorough, enlightening and tough reading.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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