Larry Nassar Sexual Abuse Scandal: The Officials and Coaches Ousted or Charged

Larry Nassar Sexual Abuse Scandal: The Officials and Coaches Ousted or Charged

The sexual abuse by Lawrence G. Nassar, a former doctor for the American women’s gymnastics team, led him to be sentenced to decades in prison after multiple convictions, a scandal that reverberated throughout the worlds of sports and higher education.

After investigations by The Indianapolis Star in 2016, hundreds of women came forward with accusations of sexual abuse, dozens and dozens of them publicly confronting Nassar during sentencing hearings in early 2018.

As the scandal widened, officials from several organizations — including U.S.A. Gymnastics, the governing body of the sport; the United States Olympic Committee; and Michigan State University, where Nassar also worked as a doctor — were ousted or charged in relation to the case. Here’s a look at many of those figures.

The organization has been in upheaval for years since the revelations about Nassar emerged.

Steve Penny, the president and chief executive of U.S.A. Gymnastics, was forced to resign in March 2017 under pressure from the U.S.O.C. Penny, who was arrested this month on a felony charge of evidence tampering, was indicted in September following allegations that he had ordered the removal of documents from a national team training center in Texas after learning of an investigation into Nassar’s behavior there.

“Mr. Penny is confident that when all the facts are known the allegations against him will be disproven,” Leigh Robie, one of his lawyers, said in a statement. If convicted, Penny could face two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, according to the authorities.

Paul Parilla, the chairman of U.S.A. Gymnastics’s board; Jay Binder, the vice chairman; and Bitsy Kelley, the treasurer — resigned in January under intense pressure as women spoke out at one of Nassar’s sentencing hearings. The rest of the board resigned within days, after the head of the U.S.O.C. threatened to decertify the organization.

Kerry Perry, who replaced Penny as president, was forced out by the U.S.O.C. amid criticism of her handling the Nassar scandal in September after less than a year in the role. Nassar’s victims criticized Perry for only briefly attending his days-long sentencing hearings, and for failing to reach out to the highest-profile women who had been abused.

Mary Bono, who was appointed in October as interim president and chief executive, stepped down within days over criticism of her opposition to Nike’s support for Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback who knelt during the national anthem to protest social injustice and police brutality. She was also widely criticized for her connection to a law firm that advised U.S.A. Gymnastics as it delayed revealing what it knew about Nassar’s abuse.

Valeri Liukin, who became the women’s national team coordinator in 2016, stepped down in February He said, “The present climate causes me, and more importantly my family, far too much stress, difficulty and uncertainty.”

Rhonda Faehn, a senior vice president at U.S.A. Gymnastics for the women’s program, was fired by the organization in May. Faehn told a Senate panel in June that she had informed Penny about several accusations about Nassar in 2015, and that Penny directed her and others not to discuss “the current issue” about a member of the medical staff with anyone.

Mary Lee Tracy, a longtime coach who initially defended Nassar, was asked by U.S.A. Gymnastics to resign her position in August, only days after the federation hired her as its elite development coordinator. In a statement, U.S.A. Gymnastics said Tracy had acted “inappropriately” by contacting a gymnast who was suing over the Nassar case.


Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the U.S.O.C., stepped down in February after calls for his resignation from two senators, a group of former Olympians, athletes’ representatives and child-advocacy experts amid criticism of the committee’s handling of the abuse scandal.


Martha Karolyi and Bela Karolyi, the retired coordinators and coaches of the women’s national gymnastics team, said in April that they had not been aware of Nassar’s abuse. The Karolyis have been named in lawsuits.

Debra Van Horn, a former trainer at the ranch who also worked for U.S.A. Gymnastics, was arrested in September after being charged in June with one count of second-degree sexual assault of a child by prosecutors in Texas. Van Horn had been charged as “acting as a party” with Nassar, according to the authorities. Her lawyer said Van Horn was “innocent” of the charge.

In January, when one former gymnast appeared at one of Nassar’s sentencing hearings, she also accused Van Horn of being in the room while Nassar abused her.


John Geddert, a former coach for the women’s Olympic gymnastics team and owner of Twistars Gymnastics Club in Dimondale, Mich., where Nassar offered treatment, was suspended in January by U.S.A. Gymnastics. (He also announced he was retiring). The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan said people had come forward with complaints against him, according to The Associated Press in February. (Several women have accused Geddert of being physically abusive and indifferent to their injuries.) Geddert has said he had “zero knowledge” of Nassar’s crimes, The A.P. reported.


Many of the abuse charges against Nassar stemmed from his time at the university, where he was a faculty member for years and the team physician for two female varsity squads.

Lou Anna K. Simon, the university’s president, resigned in January under pressure over the way she handled the Nassar scandal. (Her resignation came the same day that Nassar was sentenced for sexually abusing seven girls.) She denied that a “cover-up” had taken place but wrote in her resignation letter: “To the survivors, I can never say enough that I am so sorry that a trusted, renowned physician was really such an evil, evil person who inflicted such harm under the guise of medical treatment.”

Mark Hollis, the university’s athletic director, resigned shortly after Simon stepped down. “This was not an easy decision for my family, and you should not jump to any conclusions,” he said. “I am not running away from anything.”

Kathie Klages, a former university gymnastics coach, was charged in August with two counts of lying to the authorities about whether she knew that Nassar had sexually abused numerous young women for decades. When speaking to university police detectives, Klages, who retired in 2017, denied learning of Nassar’s sexual abuse before 2016, prosecutors said.

William D. Strampel, the former dean of the university’s osteopathic medical school, has been accused by investigators of facilitating abuse by Nassar, whom he supervised before retiring from the university in 2017, and of committing sexual misconduct himself. In March, Strampel was charged with criminal sexual conduct, misconduct by a public official and two counts of willful neglect of duty, court records showed. His lawyer said Strampel denied all counts against him.

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