USA Gymnastics: The Aftermath of a Reverberating Sex Abuse Scandal Begins

A Scandal of Seismic Proportions

When over a hundred women testified against admitted sexual assaulter Dr. Larry Nassar at his sentencing hearing last week, it was just the next chapter of a scandal that promises to send shockwaves through USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University for years to come.

A once highly esteemed osteopathic physician, Nassar worked as the team doctor for USA Gymnastics and was part of the faculty at Michigan State. By his own admission, he used these prestigious positions to sexually abuse students who came to him for medical treatments.

The Charges

Nassar’s list of offenses is long and deeply disturbing. It includes an astonishing number of sexual abuses and reaches back over 20 years. Just as disturbing is the long-term cover that USA Gymnastics administrators provided for Nassar. Investigations have revealed that USAG executives dismissed many accusations of sexual abuse over the years and failed to notify authorities.

The Michigan State campus has also been deemed culpable in the scandal. Over 140 former gymnasts have filed lawsuits against the university, alleging that its administrators were negligently unresponsive to a litany of serious complaints against Nassar.

Michigan State claims that the first complaint against Nassar was filed in 2014. Afterward, Nassar was allowed to continue working with patients under a number of restrictions. Yet Nassar wasn’t fired until a 2016 report by the Indianapolis Star made the allegations public.

The Victims

The sheer number of Nassar’s young victims is staggering. With a reputation as a highly skilled and well-respected physician, Nassar was able to gain the trust of his victims easily. Along with upwards of a hundred of lesser-known students, several former Olympians have come forward with charges against Nassar.

These women include gold medal winners Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Simone Biles, and Aly Raisman, as well as dozens of club gymnasts and other student-athletes. Many of these women were among those testifying at Nassar’s sentencing hearing, including Raisman, Wieber, and dozens of lesser-known victims.

The Fallout