The sexual abuse of Olympic young gymnasts by disgraced trainer Larry Nassar is a scandal that shook the country’s Olympic sports to the core, leading to the resignation of the entire USA Gymnastics board as well as the head of the USOC.
Today the U.S. congressional committee questioned, “Has the U.S. Olympic Committee followed its own rules in investigating complaints of sexual abuse of athletes?”
“It is unclear if the USOC had followed its own procedures in investigating allegations of sexual abuse.” Said at the hearing Gregg Harper, the subcommittee’s chairman.
“The case of sexual abuse will take a Herculean effort to regain the trust of respective athletes and their families,” said Harper, a Republican.
While the acting USOC Chief Executive Lyon said, “The Olympic community failed the people it was supposed to protect,”
SafeSport now receives 20 to 30 reports of abuse per week, up from that many per month when it opened in March 2017, Shellie Pfohl, the body’s president, told the hearing. As of last week, it has issued more than 169 sanctions, including 142 lifetime bans, she said.
Executives from the national governing bodies for swimming, gymnastics, taekwondo and volleyball were also set to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.
The case involving gymnasts was the most prominent. Michigan State University last week agreed to pay $500 million to 332 women who were sexually abused by Nassar, who had also been a doctor for USA Gymnastics and who earlier this year received a prison sentence of up to 175 years after pleading guilty last year to criminal sexual conduct.
The U.S. Senate and Department of Education are also conducting probes into sex abuse in sports.
Reporting by Ian Simpson