US Olympic Committee was 'aware' of Larry Nassar sexual abuse, claims Aly Raisman lawsuit

Raisman, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, was one of 265 women and girls who were subject to abuse at the hands of Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor

Samuel Lovett
Friday 02 March 2018 15:33 GMT
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Aly Raisman gives her victim account against Larry Nassar earlier this year
Aly Raisman gives her victim account against Larry Nassar earlier this year (Reuters)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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US gymnast Aly Raisman has filed a lawsuit against the US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics alleging that that the USCO was “aware, at the highest levels of its organisation,” of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse.

Raisman, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, was one of 265 women and girls who were subject to abuse at the hands of Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor. Fellow US gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney also came forward to make criminal complaints against the 54-year-old.

Nassar pleaded guilty last year to molesting female athletes under the guise of medical treatment for nearly 20 years, and was earlier this year sentenced to up to 300 years in prison for his crimes. He is also serving a 60-year federal term for child pornography convictions.

According to Raisman’s lawsuit, the USOC was “aware, at the highest levels of its organization, that Defendant Nassar had molested Olympic and National Team level gymnasts who participated with Defendant USAG.”

The USOC said on Wednesday that its chief executive officer, Scott Blackmun, was resigning from his position for medical reasons. His departure follows months of sustained criticism over the sex abuse scandal.

The USOC in a statement cited Blackmun's "ongoing health issues" related to prostate cancer, for which he has been receiving treatment. It did not address whether the sex abuse scandal played a role in Blackmun's departure.

The statement also outlined new reforms aimed at protecting its athletes from abuse. But speaking on Friday, Raisman expressed her concern over the safeguarding procedures currently in place, claiming it “is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented”.

“After all this time, they [the USOC and USAG] remain unwilling to conduct a full investigation, and without a solid understanding of how this happened, it is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented,” she said.

“Meanwhile, thousands of young athletes continue to train and compete every day in this same broken system. I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed.”

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