USA Gymnastics Scandal: What Happens Now?

USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy on December 5, 2018 as a result of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. Nassar, the Michigan State University team doctor, had pleaded guilty to molesting 10 female gymnasts and was sentenced to up to 125 years behind bars in January 2018. 

PHOTO: Eighty-four survivors came together at Michigan’s Supreme Court Building, also known as the Hall of Justice. (Glamour)

 

Regarding USA Gymnastics’ efforts to contain a scandal created by Nassar, Kathryn Carson, chair of the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors, said the following in a statement, “We owe it to the survivors to resolve, fully and finally, claims based on the horrific acts of the past and, through this process, seek to expedite resolution and help them move forward.”

The organization was overcome with financial struggles and new leadership as a result of Nassar’s sexual abuse cases, ultimately causing the bankruptcy.

Recent studies have come to find that USA Gymnastics attempted to silence victims that came forward about the repeated sexual abuse towards the elite gymnasts. Victims of Nassar’s abuse began coming forward in 2015 starting with Olympian Aly Raisman. Raisman met with the Chief Executive of the Sports Federation Steve Penny to share more information about Nassar’s abuse. She noted that in texts from Penny, he emphasized the importance of Raisman’s silence on the matter.

“Most important is to address the issue with privacy and confidentiality in mind. I will be working through next steps as soon as I get the game plan in order,” said Penny in a text, according to nbcnews.com. 

It seemed obvious to Raisman that Penny and USA Gymnastics were attempting to keep the situation under wraps. 

With the #MeToo Movement gaining popularity via Twitter in 2017, more elite gymnasts also contacted law enforcement officials to share what happened to them. In April 2018, McKayla Maroney spoke about the abuse in an interview which unveiled more details regarding the scandal.

The elite gymnasts are not letting the assault overcome them. Raisman was part of the “army of women” who testified at Nassar’s hearing, where he pleaded guilty three times. She has also become a large voice for the women affected by Nassar, calling out institutions that need to be held accountable. 

After several years elite gymnasts were forced to keep quiet about the abuse because of USA Gymnastics. Now, those actions are facing the correct consequences regarding the large organization. Justice is served with Nassar behind bars, and USA Gymnastics reevaluating their organization’s culture and leadership in order to survive. Women will no longer be silenced and will continue to speak out on these issues.