Senators demand scrutiny of US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics over Nassar case

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst plan to introduce a Senate resolutio...

Posted: Feb. 7, 2018 10:50 AM
Updated: Feb. 7, 2018 10:50 AM

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst plan to introduce a Senate resolution Wednesday to establish a panel to investigate the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics' handling of allegations of abuse by former team physician Larry Nassar.

"There's now significant bipartisan support for establishing a special committee charged with the sole focus of investigating the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics," Shaheen said in a statement. "There are many disturbing questions that remain unanswered as to how Larry Nassar was able to freely abuse young girls for decades. Because the US Olympic Committee operates under a federal charter and its athletes compete under the American flag, the Senate has a responsibility to deliver answers and accountability."

More than 200 women have come forward publicly with stories of abuse at the hands of the disgraced doctor. Nassar was sentenced Monday in Eaton County, Michigan, to 40 to 125 years in prison -- the last of his sentencings.

"I'm so proud of the courageous young athletes who stood up and fought to ensure Larry Nassar can never lay his hands on another athlete. Now Congress has an opportunity to stand up for the brave survivors who came forward, for our athletes, for our children," Ernst said in a statement.

The public introduction of the resolution comes following reports that the US Olympic Committee was alerted to the abuse as early as 2015, but failed to act on the allegations. Ernst and Shaheen have both called for the committee's CEO, Scott Blackmun, to resign in the wake of the reports.

"His inaction also further underscores the immediate need for a special committee in the Senate to complete a comprehensive investigation so that those at USOC and USA Gymnastics who were in positions of power and failed to intervene and protect American athletes, are held accountable," they said in a joint statement.

It also follows a letter from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, petitioning the Justice Department to open a criminal probe into the US Olympic Committee.

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