A former USA Gymnastics president says she warned the United States Olympic Committee about rampant sex abuse in the sport back in the 1990s, but was encouraged by the committee not to investigate or discipline perpetrators.
According to the New York Times, Kathy Scanlan, who served as the president of USA Gymnastics from 1994 to 1998, stated in court papers filed in California this week alleging that soon into her tenure, she informed USOC that gymnastics had a sexual abuse problem. USOC was not helpful, she said, and in fact, “USOC’s challenge to USAG disciplining professional members in this fashion (specifically impeding the ability to ban, suspend or investigate a member) would have inhibited me from adequately protecting minor members,” she said in her statement to the courts.
Scanlan’s statement was part of a larger filing on the behalf of gymnast Aly Raisman, who is suing former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, the USOC, and USA Gymnastics following Nassar’s conviction for sexually abusing dozens of young girls and women. Scanlan said she continued, without USOC’s help, to investigate professionals within her organization who were accused of abuse. Scanlan’s successor, Bob Colarossi, also testified to alerting USOC in 1999 that USA Gymnastics did not have an adequate system for investigating abuse, noting that the committee exhibited an “apparent indifference to the welfare of young children” and suggested taking only “bare-bones” measures to look into reports of abuse.
USOC did not provide the New York Times with a statement addressing Scanlan’s allegations. Meanwhile, USA Gymnastics is in peril: USOC has been attempting to revoke USA Gymnastics’s governing body status, according to Reuters, and in January the organization’s entire board resigned in the wake of Nassar sex abuse scandal, shortly after Nassar was sentenced to multiple decades in prison for sexual misconduct and child pornography.