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

Michigan State officials have denied any wrongdoing, but damning evidence is mounting against the university as more and more witnesses come forward. Accusations against Michigan State officials became especially vehement during the sentencing hearing, with former gymnast Clasina Syrovy demanding that university president Lou Anna Simon resign immediately.

The repercussions continued Monday when USA Gymnastics suspended former Olympics Women’s Coach John Geddert pending further investigation. Geddert, who led the women’s team to a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, ran a pair of gyms that Nassar worked for and has been associated with the disgraced physician for over 25 years.

It is commonly believed that Geddert, among others associated with USA Gymnastics, turned a blind eye to Nassar’s career of sexual abuse and helped him to victimized gymnasts as young as 6 years old. His suspension follows on the heels of mass resignations of USAG board members. The resignations included Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder, and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley.

A Dark Legacy Going Forward

Nassar’s heinous actions stand out glaringly, even among the bevy of sexual assault cases unfolding in our culture today, as does the gross negligence on the part of the USAG and Michigan State University. Though it is not yet clear what effects the scandal will have on these institutions, the ramifications are certain to be intense and sweeping.

Reform measures have already started at the highest levels of the United States Government. In early 2017, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation that would force the governing body of Olympic sports to turn any information about sexual assault accusations over to law enforcement and child welfare agencies.

The bill passed last November and includes provisions that allow potential Olympians to file their accusations with independent outside agencies. Hopefully, this bill will coincide with other reforms to protect student-athletes and contribute to the massive cultural change that the recent national outpouring of allegations demands.