USA Gymnastics President Resigns; More than 50 Women File Suit in Abuse Scandal

Photo Credit: USA Gymnastics 
USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny resigned under building pressure after the Indianapolis Star broke an investigative story unveiling sexual abuse allegations and a climate within the organization that was slow to act when notified of allegations of abuse by a team doctor and coaches.

“Today’s announcement will hopefully allow USA Gymnastics to shift its attention to the future with a secure environment for its athletes and continued success in competition,” said United States Olympic Committee Board Chairman Larry Probst, on behalf of the USOC Board of Directors.

Penny joined USA Gymnastics in 1999 and was named president in 2005. “My decision to step aside as CEO is solely to support the best interests of USA Gymnastics at this time,” Penny said in a statement.

Penny’s resignation is on the heels of a civil lawsuit filed by a member of the 2000 Olympic team against former team doctor Larry Nassar. In the lawsuit, Jamie Dantzschler claims Nassar, who worked for the organization on a volunteer basis for nearly 30 years, sexually groped and fondled her as a teenager.

Additional lawsuits have followed, and to date, more than 50 women also have filed suit, including civil suits which include Penny and coaches Martha Karolyi and her husband Bela as co-defendants because they “had knowledge of inappropriate conduct and molestations committed by Nassar before and during his employment, yet chose to allow him to remain unsupervised where he sexually abused plaintiff.”

Nassar was fired by USA Gymnastics after Penny heard of an athlete’s concerns about the doctor’s conduct and complained to the FBI.

Attorney John Manly sent a letter to USOC chairman Larry Probst asking the USOC to de-certify USA Gymnastics.