Three leaders of USA Gymnastics have resigned and the coach of the 2012 women’s Olympic team has been suspended after months of criticism about the organization’s handling of former team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of athletes. NBC News reports that USA Gymnastics’ decision to suspend coach John Geddert came only hours after other leaders’ resignations.
Geddert oversaw the 2012 gold medal-winning team members, four of whom have come forward to say they were sexually abused by Nassar. 2012 and 2016 team captain Aly Raisman was among the victims who recently addressed Nassar and officials at a courtroom hearing, sharing details of her encounters with Nassar. 2012 competitor Jordyn Wieber also read her victim statement aloud, while former teammates McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas, as well as 2016 gold medalist Simone Biles, have identified themselves as victims.
Following the statements of 124 women at five-day-long court procedures, board of directors Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley resigned on Monday. Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny left the organization in 2017 when he was accused of mishandling reports of abuse from Nassar, who was sentenced last month to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges. According to a U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman, top officials asked Parilla to resign nearly two weeks ago.
The USA Gymnastics chairman and several board members have resigned. They were under fire for the molestation case involving a team doctor. https://t.co/pKQr8RWBkc
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 22, 2018
“We support their decisions to resign at this time,” said current USA Gymnastics president Kerry Perry. “We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization. As the board identifies its next chair and fills the vacant board positions, we remain focused on working every day to ensure that our culture, policies and actions reflect our commitment to those who serve.”
Although the organization didn’t reveal why Geddert was suspended, he was known to be a close associate of Nassar, and was “described as something of a tyrant who funneled patients to the doctor.”
Raisman, who has stayed extremely vocal throughout the case, shared a statement via Twitter, calling out the organization for only reprimanding certain board members for their involvement. “And why just those three board members?” she wrote. “How about the others, who either allowed them to do whatever they did wrong, or were so oblivious they didn’t know it was happening? Either way, these — and any other changes — won’t matter, until we know exactly what happened. Suggesting otherwise is dangerous to athletes.”
Thoughts on USOC’s statement pic.twitter.com/hygTV6nNXd
— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) January 23, 2018
USA Gymnastics has also received accusations of waiting too long to inform the FBI of a gymnast’s complaints, never informing Nassar’s employer Michigan State University of claims against him and paying Maroney to stay silent about her abuse.