USA Gymnastics CEO to Apologize to Larry Nassar Victims at House Subcommittee

Marco Green
May 25, 2018

Susanne Lyons, who took over as the USOC's acting CEO in March, apologized during a Congressional hearing about sexual abuse in the Olympic movement and said the overseers of that movement need to do a better job of protecting young athletes.

Perry sped away from reporters the moment the hearing ended and was not available for further questions.

None of the testifying CEOs have been in their posts longer than a year and a half.

Carter began by going directly after USA Gymnastics (USAG) CEO Kerry Perry, demanding to know whether William McCabe, a convicted sex offender from Carter's home state who served as a coach for USAG despite the cloud of suspicion that followed him throughout his career, had ever been subjected to a background check.

The leader of the United States Olympic Committee said Wednesday that her organization has failed in the past to use its authority to protect athletes from abuse.

The USOC established the U.S. Center for Safe Sport, an independent body to investigate complaints.

Under sworn testimony, Perry outlined what the organization has done since she took over in December, including closing the national training center at the Karolyi Ranch and implementing a series of recommendations for change.

"Much of what we're hearing today sounds good, but I'm anxious that we do not have a way to know whether things will actually get better", Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) said. Davis read from a letter in which advocacy group Champion Women CEO Nancy Hogshead-Makar applauded the decision.

Local clubs are watching the developments with a close eye. Yet he was allowed back into the sport five years later, only to be barred for life this year, without chance for reinstatement, for similar accusations of abuse.

Pfohl said she now has a staff of 15 and will have a better idea at how many more resources need to be added within the next six weeks. According to CEO Shellie Pfohl, when the organization launched last spring, it was receiving about 20-30 complaints about sexual abuse every month.

The Center has previously said it is looking to diversity its funding to avoid conflicts of interest with the NGBs and USOC funding most of its budget. Under terms of a recently passed law to protect athletes, the NGBs are supposed to be audited randomly by the SafeSport center, but that project is hamstrung because resources do not exist.

"This is a topic that is really important to parents", she said.

In court in January, Raisman said the organisation was "rotting from the inside" and called on Kerry Perry, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics to take responsibility for the issue. The center has fielded 840 reports over 14 months.

Pfohl said SafeSport doesn't have the money it needs to investigate all reports as quickly as it should.

"The importance of athlete safety can not be overstated", Lyons said in a statement about the latest hire. That brought the USOC's contribution to $3.1 million. "I have to admit to not having seen that before, and I have to say it does not belong on that list", Lyons said.

The newspaper obtained two emails explaining that Nassar and an attorney for USA Gymnastics came up with cover stories.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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