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Report says USOC, USAG didn't take 'meaningful steps' to protect athletes from Larry Nassar

Posted at 3:21 PM, Dec 10, 2018

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and United States Gymnastics (USAG) failed to protect athletes from Larry Nassar's sexual abuse, according to a new report that says high-ranking officials in both organizations knew about Nassar's alleged crimes but didn't do anything about them.

The report follows an investigation from Ropes & Gray, which was commissioned by the USOC earlier this year, found that "numerous institutions and individuals enabled his (Nassar) abuse and failed to stop him." That included coaches at the club and elite level, trainers and medical professionals, administrators and coaches at Michigan State University, as well as officials at USAG and USOC.

It specifically mentions several people by name, including then-USAG CEO Steve Penny, who, according to the report, directed an "immediate effort to urgently retrieve all medical forms and all documents that pertained to Nassar" at the Karolyi Ranch, two months after the Indianapolis Star exposed Nassar. Penny has been charged in Texas.

On top of that, the report said that in July 2015, Penny notified then-USOC CEO Scott Blackman that national team members lodged sexual abuse allegations against Nassar. Penny also shared that info, according to the report, with USOC Chief of Sport Performance Alan Ashley.

According to the report, neither Blackmun nor Ashley shared the information with anyone else and the USOC took no action between July 2015 and the report in the Indianapolis Star more than a year later in September 2016.

The report also states that both Blackmun and Ashley "each deleted from their respective email accounts the one email referencing Nassar by name that Penny had sent them both in September 2015."

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that shortly after they broke the news of the report, USOC fired Ashley after being made aware of the contents of the report.

According to the report, those at the organizations failed to recognize textbook grooming behaviors, ignored red flags, and "dismissed clear calls for help from girls and young women who were being abused by Nassar."

The report, which is 233 pages, found that the USOC and USAG didn't follow other practices adopted by organizations which serve kids. They also didn't take a child-first approach.

"Nassar's ability to abuse athletes for nearly three decades is a manifestation of the broader failures at USAG and the USOC," the report reads. "Although neither organization purposefully sought to harm athletes, both adopted general governance structures and specific policies concerning sexual abuse that had the effect of allowing abuse to occur and continue without intervention."

Nassar was found guilty of sexually abusing young athletes earlier this year in both Eaton County and Ingham County, and was previously found guilty on child porn charges. It's alleged he sexually abused hundreds of victims for years.

The report also states that the USOC didn't have processes in place that would have protected athletes from sexual abuse, and didn't know whether or not the national governing bodies, in this case, USAG, were implementing strong and effective policies.

"USAG was aware of the risk of sexual abuse in gymnastics, took high-level steps to help protect gymnasts, and promoted itself as a leader in protection," the report states. "But despite this branding, USAG repeatedly declined to respond adequately to concrete reports of sexual misconduct."

"USAG's and the USOC's inaction and concealment had consequences: dozens of girls and young women were abused in the year-long period between the summer of 2015 and September 2016," the report reads.

You can read the full report below:

Ropes Gray Full Report by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd