Senators To Investigate USA Gymnastics And U.S. Olympic Committee Over Nassar Abuse

Two senators announced bipartisan support for a select committee.

Days after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called for the Justice Department to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee over disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, two more senators moved to establish a special committee to determine whether officials could have done more to stop years of sexual abuse.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) announced their plan to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to establish a special committee with the sole purpose of investigating USOC and USA Gymnastics to learn if officials could have done more to stop Nassar. CNN was first to report the news of the resolution on Tuesday evening. 

Last week, Shaheen and Ernst called for USOC CEO Scott Blackmun to resign over reports that the organization was notified in September 2015 that Nassar was abusing patients, but did not take steps to stop it. 

More than 260 young women and girls have accused Nassar of sexually abusing them, including Olympic medalists Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney. Survivors, including Raisman, have said USA Gymnastics did not take action when they came forward with accusations of abuse. 

“Neither USA Gymnastics nor the USOC have reached out to express sympathy or even offer support,” Raisman said during her testimony at Nassar’s sentencing last month. “Not even to ask, how did this happen? What do you think we can do to help? Why have I and others here probably not heard anything from the leadership from the USOC? Why has the United States Olympic Committee been silent? Why isn’t the USOC here right now?”

In a statement obtained by CNN, Shaheen said, “There are many disturbing questions that remain unanswered as to how Larry Nassar was able to freely abuse young girls for decades. Because the U.S. Olympic Committee operates under a federal charter and its athletes compete under the American flag, the Senate has a responsibility to deliver answers and accountability.”

Shaheen requested that the Senate form a select committee last month to investigate USOC before the Winter Olympics begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea, later this week.

In addition to his prior sentencing last month, Nassar was sentenced Monday to 40-125 years imprisonment on three additional counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree.