Former US Olympic Committee chief referred to FBI for alleged lies over Nassar abuse scandal

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December 15, 2018 10:45:21

A former head of the US Olympic Committee has been referred to the FBI after making “materially false statements” to a US Senate subcommittee investigating sexual abuse in gymnastics, the panel said.

Key points:

  • USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to up to 300 years’ jail for sexual abuse after hundreds of women testified against him
  • The scandal resulted in the resignations of many senior US sports officials, including US Olympic Committee chief Scott Blackmun
  • A US Senate subcommittee has now referred him to the FBI over allegedly lying to them about his response to the scandal

In a joint statement, Republican senator Jerry Moran, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on commerce, and senator Richard Blumenthal, its Democratic ranking member, said they made the referral detailing potential violations of the law against former Olympic Committee chief executive Scott Blackmun.

Mr Blackmun did not respond to a request for comment.

The move comes after a report released on Monday said the United States Olympics Committee (USOC) failed to protect athletes from the threat of sexual abuse, with some executives taking no actions following allegations of sexual abuse against Larry Nassar, a team doctor for USA Gymnastics.

Nassar was sentenced to up to 300 years in prison in two different trials last winter after more than 350 women testified about abuse at his hands.

The witnesses included Olympic champions Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber.

Nassar is also serving a 60-year federal term for child pornography convictions.

“It appears Mr Blackmun has made false claims and misled our subcommittee — harming the investigation and our ability to develop policy,” Mr Moran and Mr Blumenthal said in the statement.

“Survivors of abuse have had to wait longer for the truth and longer for systemic changes to help prevent others from similar injury.”

In a June 5 statement to the subcommittee, which oversees the USOC, Mr Blackmun wrote that when he heard of allegations against Nassar through a July 2015 phone call from then-USA Gymnastics chief executive Steve Penny, he spoke to the USOC’s “SafeSport staff”, the statement said.

SafeSport oversees abuse claims in Olympic sports.

But the report by law firm Ropes & Gray found that after hearing about the allegations against Nassar, Mr Blackmun did not inform anyone else at the USOC of the allegations.

The report said dozens of girls and young women were abused during the yearlong period between the allegations surfacing in mid-2015 and September 2016 when the Nassar story broke. Nassar was arrested two months later.

Mr Blackmun stepped down as USOC chief executive in February 2018 after criticism of the committee and calls for his resignation from former Olympians and child advocacy experts.

Reuters

Topics:

sport,

olympics-summer,

gymnastics,

sexual-offences,

united-states



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