Former USA Gymnastics head arrested on suspicion of tampering with evidence in Larry Nassar sexual assault cases

Grand jury alleges ex-president removed documents relating to doctor's activities at Texas ranch

Thursday 18 October 2018 10:08
Larry Nassar pleads guilty on sexual assault charges

Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny has been arrested after a Texas grand jury indicted him on allegations he tampered with evidence in the sexual assault investigation of jailed gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday night the Walker County district attorney’s office in Huntsville, Texas, said Mr Penny had been arrested by a fugitive task force in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and was due to be extradited to Texas.

Evidence tampering is a third-degree felony punishable by between two and 10 years in prison. It was unclear whether Mr Penny had an attorney. Messages left with USA Gymnastics were not immediately returned.

Mr Penny resigned under pressure in March 2017.

The indictment alleges Mr Penny ordered the removal of documents from the Karolyi Ranch relating to Nassar’s activities at the site near Huntsville. It alleges Mr Penny acted after learning that Texas Rangers and Walker County authorities were investigating the ranch, which was being managed by USA Gymnastics.

The indictment states the documents were delivered to Mr Penny at the USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis, that they have not been recovered and that their whereabouts are unknown to authorities.

Nassar was charged in June with sexually assaulting six children in Walker County. A former sports medicine trainer, Debra Van Horn, was also indicted on one count of second-degree sexual assault of a child. Prosecutors said Ms Van Horn was charged as “acting as a party” with Nassar.

Nassar was sentenced earlier this year to decades in prison, after hundreds of women and girls accused him of molesting them under the guise of medical treatment. They said the abuse went as far back as the 1990s while he worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Nassar was a former team doctor for both the women’s programme at USA Gymnastics as well as Michigan State University athletics.

In Texas, a number of gymnasts who had trained at the Karolyi Ranch have said Nassar sexually assaulted them there. Walker County prosecutors have said there is no corroborated evidence of wrongdoing by world-renowned gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi, and the couple has denied wrongdoing.

Additional reporting by AP

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