Local survivor feels vindicated by Steve Penny arrest

Posted at 7:35 AM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-19 07:35:54-04

The arrest of former USA Gymnastics head Steve Penny has a lot of gymnasts around the country feeling vindicated Thursday.

One of them is a Nassar survivor and former Michigan State University athlete, Lindsey Lemke.

Lindsey Lemke called Steve Penny a coward during the Nassar sentencing hearing. She didn't like that he left someone else to deal with the mess when he quit USA Gymnastics.

So she said she was glad to learn he'd been arrested.

"If you wanna mess with the evidence and what we are trying to say is true and you're trying to detour that, then this is what you get," said Lindsey Lemke, Larry Nassar survivor.

Lindsey Lemke blames a number of people for failing to stop Larry Nassar's years of abuse.
The former president of USA Gymnastics is one of them.

"You don't just get to quit your job and hide behind doors and hopes that nobody comes and finds you," Lemke said.

Lemke praises the investigators for their continuous work behind closed doors. She said they are getting survivors closer and closer to justice and accountability.

"Just validated, the things that we are saying and we are preaching to the media and trying to tell other people about, it's real. We're not just trying to make this up for attention, or we're not trying to exaggerate our stories," said Lemke.

She said it's not fair that USA Gymnastics looked good on the backs of its athletes for years, while the people in charge allowed Nassar to prey upon them.

"Athletes of USAG work really really hard to represent our country, specifically the elites. There are elites at world championships right now training to represent the USA in the next competition," said Lemke.

And even after everything that's happened in the last two years, she still had a hard time believing Steve Penny was arrested.

"We've been fighting this for so long that when you see a headline come up like that, whether it's on twitter or the news or wherever you see it. it's almost like you can't believe it because you think that your fight is sometimes is just for nothing. Like you're fighting over and over again just for nothing. Then you see headline come up like that and you're excited, you're thrilled, you feel relieved, but at the same time you're like 'OK I'm not going to get my hopes up because this almost feels too good to be true."

Steve Penny resigned from USA Gymnastics last year after 12 years.
He was replaced by Kerry Perry who resigned after being accused of inadequately responding to the Nassar scandal.
Her replacement was Mary Bono. She stepped down Tuesday after just four days on the job.

Several survivors complained about her association with the law firm that advised USA Gymnastics during the scandal.

If convicted of evidence tampering Penny could up to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Lemke hopes USA Gymnastics takes the time to find someone who is not involved in the sport so they can lead with an unbiased opinion.