American gymnasts detail sexual abuse to legislators on Capitol Hill
Three former elite American gymnasts who were among the 260 girls and women who alleged they were sexually abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar met with legislators on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night, representatives for two senators told USA TODAY Sports.
Jordyn Wieber (a 2012 Olympic gold medalist), Jamie Dantzscher (part of the the 2000 Olympic team that won a bronze in Sydney) and former national team member Jeanette Antolin detailed the abuse they suffered to Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Lisa Lorincz, the mother of gymnast Kaylee Lorincz who was unable to attend because of a competition, was also part of the meeting.
“The young women’s stories we heard today reinforced our determination to root out abuse in youth sport governing bodies,” Moran and Blumenthal said in a joint statement to USA TODAY Sports. “We are hopeful for renewed commitment from all Olympic organizations to eradicate all sexual abuse and other misconduct, and to raise a generation of athletes who feel safe competing in the sports they love. As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee with jurisdiction over USOC and other governing bodies, we intend to continue our thorough investigation.”
Moran and Blumenthal are leaders of a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee that launched an investigation into the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University in the aftermath of Nassar’s convictions. Two committees in the House have launched similar inquiries.
The meeting was held shortly after it was announced that USOC CEO Scott Blackmun had resigned. Blackmun’s resignation was due to health issues as he undergoes cancer treatment.
Nassar has been sentenced to a minimum of 140 years in prison, sentences handed down in federal court and two Michigan courts. Blackmun forced the resignations of all 21 USA Gymnastics board members, and in the statement that announced his departure, the USOC vowed to institute more changes to protect athletes.
All three gymnasts had publicly come forward to detail the abuse they had suffered.
"I am angry with myself for not recognizing the abuse, and that's something I'm struggling with today," Wieber said at a sentencing hearing in January. "The people who are responsible need to accept accountability.”
Antolin alleged in a lawsuit that Nassar used his authority as team doctor to “fondle and grope Plaintiff’s feet, ankles, thighs, buttocks, hips, waist and neck,” and he touched without gloves for his own sexual gratification.
In her lawsuit, Dantzscher claimed Nassar would would “digitally penetrate Plaintiff’s vagina in order to adjust her bones” without gloves.
STEPPING DOWN:U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun resigns