Gymnastics exec says she was told to keep quiet about Nassar
WASHINGTON (AP) — The former president of USA Gymnastics refused to answer questions Tuesday from a Senate subcommittee about how he handled allegations of sexual abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar, and another former executive sat next to him and asserted that her former boss instructed her and others to keep quiet about athletes’ claims.
Rhonda Faehn, the former senior vice president of USA Gymnastics, said she first reported an allegation against Nassar to Steve Penny, her then-boss, on June 17, 2015. Nassar was not arrested until more than a year later. He is now serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography, and hundreds of athletes have said they were abused by him, including Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles.
The revelations about Nassar’s conduct over two decades and the way it was handled by Penny and others have led Congress to call for drastic reforms of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and other sports’ governing bodies.
Faehn said Penny warned her and others not to discuss the allegations against Nassar and that she wrongly assumed he had taken the allegations to law enforcement.
“He told me not to say anything or do anything because he was going to handle everything going forward,” Faehn said in her written testimony, “and he told me he was going to report the concerns to proper authorities, which I assumed included law enforcement.”
Faehn reiterated those claims as Penny, who was forced out as president of USA Gymnastics last year, sat silently next to her. When it was his turn to speak, he didn’t say much.
Penny invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination six times before he was excused by the panel. As he slowly limped out of the hearing room, former gymnast Amy Moran shouted “Shame!” in his direction. Moran alleges she was abused by her former coach and reported it to Penny, and she was unsatisfied with Penny’s response to the allegations, which she now sees as a precursor to how he handled the Nassar case.