Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called on the Department of Justice to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) following recent reports that the USOC was informed of probable crimes committed by Dr. Larry Nassar as early as 2015, but took no action. As the organization that oversees USA Gymnastics, USOC had a duty to act when informed of a possible crime.
“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen more than 150 young women bravely come forward to talk about the abuse and cruelty they suffered at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Nassar’s crimes were facilitated by a culture of silencing victims and valuing a doctor over the vulnerable children he was supposed to heal. These young women and children were failed time and again by adults at the U.S. Olympic Committee who were entrusted with the responsibility to care for them. When presented with credible information that Nassar was a child predator committing crimes against young girls, the U.S. Olympic Committee appeared to turn a blind eye. The Department of Justice should immediately investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee and determine the depth of their failures and whether they violated the law.”
Gillibrand is also a cosponsor of bipartisan legislation with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) that would establish a Special Senate Committee to investigate the USOC, USA Gymnastics, and their role in criminal or negligent behavior of their employees.
The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to DOJ is here and below:
February 3, 2018
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Sessions,
As of this writing, more than 150 young women and teenagers have publicly testified to the abuses they suffered at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar. These young women have demonstrated great courage by speaking out about the cruelties they have endured. The tragedy of their cases is only compounded by the number of times this predator could have been stopped. These young women and children were failed time and again. I call upon the Department of Justice to investigate the depth of those failures and whether they violated the law.
In the wake of Nassar’s arrest and convictions, I have seen resignations from prominent individuals such as the president of Michigan State University and the USA Gymnastics Board. Yet resignations are not enough. Punishing Dr. Nassar is not enough. His crimes were facilitated by a culture of silencing victims and valuing a doctor over the vulnerable children he was supposed to heal. A recent news report states that there are emails proving that the U.S. Olympic Committee was informed of probable crimes committed by Dr. Nassar as early as 2015, but took no action because the U.S. Olympic Committee was assured that USA Gymnastics was undertaking an investigation. The U.S. Olympic Committee had a moral duty to act when informed of a possible crime. Their inaction resulted in the abuse of even more young women and girls. It is incumbent on the Department of Justice to investigate whether there was a legal duty as well. I request that the Department of Justice examine the extent to which other parties have failed in their duty and should be held responsible for their contribution to Dr. Nassar’s crimes.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and for the Department of Justice’s continuing efforts to track and prosecute child predators like Dr. Larry Nassar.