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5 months ago
Top Gymnastics Board Members Resign in the Wake of Larry Nassar Case

The chairman, vice chairman, and treasurer of USA Gymnastics have officially resigned. Paul Parilla, Jay Binder and Bitsy Kelly announced Monday they would step down amid calls for them to do so in reaction to the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the sport.

This isn't the first public ousting at USAG since Nassar's arrest. The former CEO Steve Penny was forced out last year.

Current and former gymnasts have been testifying for five days in Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing. Nassar was a doctor who sexually abused over 100 gymnasts during his time at Michigan State University and as a team doctor for USAG. He was charged with ten counts of sexual assault, which he plead guilty to. He also plead guilty to child pornography charges at a previous trial faces sixty years in jail for that crime.

USAG's current CEO, Kerry Perry, said in a statement that she supports the resignations.

“We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization,” Perry said in a statement. “As the board identifies its next chair and fills the vacant board positions, we remain focused on working every day to ensure that our culture, policies and actions reflect our commitment to those we serve.”

Many gymnasts who read statements this week and last called out USAG for knowing about the Nassar problem and not doing anything about it. Jessica Howard was a rhythmic gymnast who was not only abused by Nassar but served on the USAG board from 2009 to 2012. She told the New York Times the resignation of these key board members has been a long time coming.

Gymnasts have also criticized the United States Olympic Committee in their statements for its inaction. Scott Blackmun, the Olympic committee’s chief executive, said in a statement that their organization had been discussing staffing changes with USAG since October. Those talks grew more serious over this past weekend.

“New board leadership is necessary because the current leaders have been focused on establishing that they did nothing wrong,” Blackmun said. “The Olympic family failed these athletes and we must continue to take every step necessary to ensure this never happens again.”

Additionally, USAG severed ties with the Karolyi Ranch last week. The ranch was USAG's national team training center, and after multiple girls said they were abused there (notably Simone Biles), Perry made the decision to find a new training facility.


John Manly is an attorney who represents more than 100 of Nassar's victims. In a statement to The Huffington Post, he said he felt the removal of these three individuals is nothing more than a public relations stunt. “It should not have more than 100 young women publicly baring their souls about their sexual assault by Larry Nassar to finally get USAG to act,” Manly said. “It’s important to note that 54 USAG Coaches have been credibly accused of sexually molesting little girls and boys in the last 20 years. Child molestation is a cancer in USAG and those responsible need to be completely ousted from the organization so there is nothing left of their influence.”

In a series of tweets earlier this month, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman said that USAG is "100 percent responsible" for Nassar's actions.

"We must understand how this happened to make sure it never occurs again," Raisman tweeted. "The system has to change so that athletes are safe. Enablers need to be held accountable."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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