USA Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in Indianapolis on Wednesday as the organization continues to reckon with the Larry Nassar serial sexual abuse scandal, including a slew of civil suits.
CNN reports that, the organization claims in its filing the decision was made to help, “expedite an equitable resolution of the claims made by the survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by Larry Nassar, the former national team doctor. We owe it to these brave women who have come forward.”
ESPN and the Associated Press reports that, according to USA Gymnastics board of directors chair Kathryn Carson, the bankruptcy filing represents a rethinking of the organization, not its demise. And it does seem to be designed just for that purpose. Defense lawyers predict the filing will halt all current civil legal proceedings, including a depositions of USA gymnastics officials. More than 300 plaintiffs have sued the organization, claiming its leaders failed to report Nassar’s abuse, contrary to their professional and moral obligations.
John Manley, a lawyer representing many of the women who have filed civil suits against USA Gymnastics, called the move an “inevitable result of the inability of this organization to meet its core responsibility of protecting its athlete members from abuse.” He went on to call USA Gymnastics leadership “both morally and financially bankrupt.”
Last month, the US Olympic Committee began the process of decertifying USA Gymnastics, a move that would divest the organization of its power, and that bankruptcy filing could stop, according to The New York Times’ reporting on the matter.
It looks to be a shrewd move so that the organization may continue some of its regular operations; what justice it will yield for survivors of Nassar’s abuse remains difficult to infer.