Congress Grills Sports Officials Over Nassar Scandal

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Senators put questions to Steve Penny yesterday. They placed inquiries to him, however, he declined to reply in a few key cases. Penny is the former leader of USA Gymnastics, and he faces the questions on the sex abuse scandal that has engulfed that Olympic game. New facts indicate that Penny might also have tried to suppress records approximately the abuse. Alexandra Starr reports.

ALEXANDRA STARR, BYLINE: Steve Penny needed to be subpoenaed earlier than he regarded in Congress. Senators wondered him about disgraced former team health practitioner Larry Nassar, who abused hundreds of athletes under the guise of scientific remedy. Penny gave a version of this reaction a 1/2 dozen instances.

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STEVE PENNY: Mr. Chairman, respectfully, I would really like to answer your query. However, I’ve been advised by using my lawyer to assert my rights below the Fifth Amendment. I respectfully decline to reply your query.

STARR: Penny served as head of USA Gymnastics for more than a decade, until 2017 when he resigned for how he treated the Nassar scandal. Kansas Senator Jerry Moran asked questions hinting that Penny did no longer prioritize the safety of younger gymnasts. First, Moran requested whether or not it became genuine that Penny had released a non-public research into Nassar.

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JERRY MORAN: How did that non-public research come about? And then my knowledge is that you waited forty-one days to contact regulation enforcement. Is that accurate?

STARR: Again, Penny refused to answer. He changed into allowed to go away rapidly afterward. A former gymnast and abuse victim stood and yelled shame as he walked out. Another witness on the hearing became Rhonda Fein, the primary worker at USA Gymnastics to obtain a complaint approximately Nassar nearly years ago. She advised Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal she right now knowledgeable Penny.

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RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: You were instructed to hold quiet. Larry Nassar changed into knowledgeable of the investigation before the FBI was told about it, correct?

STARR: Yes, she stated. While USA Gymnastics behind schedule involving law enforcement, Penny by no means knowledgeable about Nassar’s other business enterprise, Michigan State University. That allowed the physician to treat and abuse women for a further year. Lou Anna Simon, the former president of Michigan State, also testified.

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LOU ANNA SIMON: And I wish we had recognized quicker. I would echo once more my apology to the victims, the survivors, the ones we realize and people we do not.

STARR: Simon resigned in advance this yr. Michigan State is paying out a half of billion bucks to extra than three hundred victims. Nassar, the former physician, is in jail. As Congress maintains to research pinnacle athletic officers across Olympic sports, several senators promised greater alternate is coming. Apologies are not sufficient, said Senator Blumenthal. We need to honor these sufferers with real action. For NPR News, I’m Alexandra Starr.

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