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Raisman Calls for Investigation as Three USA Gymnastics Board Members Resign

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Aly Raisman competes on the floor exercise on Day 2 of the women’s gymnastics U.S. Olympic Trials at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., July 10, 2016. Photo: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

USA Gymnastics chairman Paul Parilla, vice-chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley have resigned from their roles with the governing body amid mounting criticism of their response to the sexual abuse scandal in the sport.

President and chief executive Kerry Perry confirmed the trio had stepped down with immediate effect and an interim chair would be appointed before a permanent replacement is chosen.

“We support their decisions to resign,” said Perry.

“We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organisation.”

The resignations, which were also supported by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), came as former team doctor Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing continued in Michigan.

Nassar is accused by over 140 girls and women, including several top American gymnasts, of sexual abuse during his time with the governing body.

He is due to be sentenced later this week.

Gymnasts such as three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman have been critical of the organization for not investigating the alleged abuse.

During the sentencing hearing last week, Raisman said USA Gymnastics was a governing body that was “rotting from the inside.”

The 23-year-old, one of Nassar’s victims, has now called on an independent investigation into the scandal to be launched.

Raisman, a member of the American women’s team which successfully defended their Olympic title at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, also slammed the USOC for their supposed weak response.

“For the past week, survivors came forward to courageously face a perpetrator of evil and to share their painful stories,” Raisman wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

“Many of them, myself included, claim the USOC is also at fault.

“Was the USOC there to ‘focus on supporting the brave survivors’? No.

“Did they issue any statement then?

“Over the weekend, the USOC released a statement shamelessly taking credit for a few USA Gymnastics resignations (note: not fired), as though they are addressing this problem.

“But they are still not acknowledging its own role in this mess.

“Zero accountability!

“It’s like none of us were ever abused.”

In the USOC statement, chief executive Scott Blackmun claimed new board leadership was necessary “because the current leaders have been focused on establishing that they did nothing wrong.”

“The Olympic family failed these athletes and we must continue to take every step necessary to ensure this never happens again,” he added.

Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in jail in December for three counts relating to child sex abuse images on his computer.

By Liam Morgan

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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