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All USA Gymnastics directors to resign after Larry Nassar scandal

The entire board of directors of US Gymnastics has resigned after former team doctor Larry Nassar was handed a sentence of up to 175 years for sexual abuse.

Nassar was jailed for 40 to 175 years for molesting girls and young women while he was a doctor for the US Gymnastics team.

On Thursday, the US Olympic Committee (USOC) handed a list of requirements to US Gymnastics in the wake of the abuse scandal, which included making wholesale changes.

Any director who did not resign would face termination proceedings and the organisation could have faced losing its status as a sports governing body. On Friday, it was confirmed that every director would step down.


Victim Helena Weick (R)

Video:
Gymnasts tell doctor: ‘How dare you’

A letter sent by USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun read: “We do not base these requirements on any knowledge that any individual USAG staff or board members had a role in fostering or obscuring Nassar’s actions.

“Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding.”

In response, a USA Gymnastics statement read: “USA Gymnastics completely embraces the requirements outlined in the Jan. 25, 2017 letter from the United States Olympic Committee and appreciates the opportunity to work with the USOC to accomplish change for the betterment of our organization, our athletes and our clubs.

“We understand that the requirements imposed by the letter will help us enhance our ability to build a culture of empowerment throughout the organization, with an increased focus on athlete safety and well-being. Our commitment is uncompromising, and we hope everything we do makes this very clear.”

:: Larry Nassar’s campaign of abuse is a travesty that could have been avoided

Nassar returns to court after a break in victim statements
Image:
Nassar returns to court after a break in victim statements

An interim board will be appointed by the end of February with a new board of directors in place by next year.

USOC is conducting its own independent inquiry into the scandal, but it has been criticised itself for its own lack of action, which allowed Nassar’s behaviour to continue for so long.

Other conditions set upon USA Gymnastics by USOC include training for all staff at the US Centre for Safe Sport, and ethics training.

Several members of the board insist they did not know anything about the allegations until they came to light publicly.

(L to R) Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among Nassar's accusers
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(L to R) Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney are among Nassar’s accusers

Mark Hollis, who was Michigan State University athletics director, quit his position from the university where Nassar had been employed, but he said he did not think he had ever met him.

His resignation followed President Lou Anna Simon’s, who stepped down after the sentence was passed.

There were allegations some gymnasts had made complaints about Nassar as long ago as the early 1990s to staff within the University.

Mr Hollis said: “It’s been an absolute honour to guide the athletic department for the last decade. That being said, today I’m announcing my retirement. This was not an easy decision for my family and you should know, and you should not, you should not jump to any conclusions based upon our decision.


Larry Nassar has heard more than 100 women speak out against him in court

Video:
Larry Nassar: Disgraced Olympic doctor sentenced to 175 years for abusing gymnasts

“Listen to the facts, I’m not running away from anything. I’m running towards something, comfort, compassion and understanding for the survivors and our community, togetherness, time, and love for my family.

:: Sentencing of Larry Nassar: Testimonies of ex-USA Gymnastics team doctor’s accusers

“When you look at the scope of everything, that’s the reason I made a choice to retire now and I hope that it has a little bit, a little bit of helping that healing process.”

Nassar’s victims included Olympic champions Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney.

They were among 150 women who spoke at his sentencing hearing, which lasted more than a week.

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