Senators call for investigation of USOC, USA Gymnastics
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators from both parties are calling for creation of a select committee to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics following the sentencing of a former sports doctor who admitted molesting female gymnasts for years under the guise of medical treatment.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said the Senate should review how Dr. Larry Nassar was given unsupervised access to the gymnasts. Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 150 women and girls over 25 years.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also backed the special committee, saying that "while some justice has finally been served, there are a great deal of questions that still remain" about how Nassar was able to continue his abuse for so many years.
The senators' request comes as House leaders prepare to take up Senate-passed legislation intended to prevent predators from abusing young athletes. The bill, set for a vote Monday, would require amateur sports groups recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee to promptly report claims of sexual abuse to police. The House passed a similar bill in May, but the legislative language is not identical.
"The crimes committed against these young women are atrocious and rattle us all to the core," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. "The fact that it went unreported to law enforcement is intolerable – and it's a huge wake-up call."
In sentencing Nassar to 40 to 175 years in prison, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina called for "a massive investigation as to why there was inaction, why there was silence."
Shaheen made a similar point in calling for a special Senate committee.
"Larry Nassar will spend a lifetime in prison, but enormous disturbing questions remain as to how he was able to freely abuse young girls for decades," she said.