Gillibrand seeks Justice probe of Olympic athletes abuse

Feb 4, 2018

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on the US Justice Department to investigate the US Olympic Committee in the wake of an abuse scandal involving a doctor and the gymnastics team.

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Credit Photo by Eileen Buckley / WBFO File Photo

Gillibrand cited reports that say the USOC learned of the abuse in 2015 and took no action. New York's junior senator wants the Justice Department to look into that and determine whether the USOC violated the law.

Here is the text of Gillibrand's letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Dear Attorney General Sessions,

As of this writing, more than 150 young women and teenagers have publicly testified to the abuses they suffered at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar. These young women have demonstrated great courage by speaking out about the cruelties they have endured. The tragedy of their cases is only compounded by the number of times this predator could have been stopped. These young women and children were failed time and again. I call upon the Department of Justice to investigate the depth of those failures and whether they violated the law.

In the wake of Nassar’s arrest and convictions, I have seen resignations from prominent individuals such as the president of Michigan State University and the USA Gymnastics Board. Yet resignations are not enough. Punishing Dr. Nassar is not enough. His crimes were facilitated by a culture of silencing victims and valuing a doctor over the vulnerable children he was supposed to heal. A recent news report states that there are emails proving that the U.S. Olympic Committee was informed of probable crimes committed by Dr. Nassar as early as 2015, but took no action because the U.S. Olympic Committee was assured that USA Gymnastics was undertaking an investigation. The U.S. Olympic Committee had a moral duty to act when informed of a possible crime. Their inaction resulted in the abuse of even more young women and girls. It is incumbent on the Department of Justice to investigate whether there was a legal duty as well. I request that the Department of Justice examine the extent to which other parties have failed in their duty and should be held responsible for their contribution to Dr. Nassar’s crimes.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and for the Department of Justice’s continuing efforts to track and prosecute child predators like Dr. Larry Nassar.  

Sincerely,

Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator