In 2015, disgraced USA Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar was under investigation for sexual abuse. But rather than be upfront with the parents of the gymnasts, USA Gymnastics officials offered a series of “false excuses” to cover the investigation up.
According to IndyStar, who obtained copies of the emails in question, Larry Nassar worked together with a USA Gymnastics attorney to provide a series of “cover stories” to explain why he wouldn’t be in attendance at two major events leading up to the 2016 Olympics.
Scott D. Himsel, Esq., an Indianapolis attorney who represented USA Gymnastics, told Nassar in an email that his medical techniques were under investigation and that it is “in everyone’s best interest” if Nassar sat out a gymnastics event that was due to take place that weekend in 2015.
Nassar’s response to Himsel read, in its totality, “Can’t we just say that I am sick?”
Himsel then agreed to have USA Gymnastics use that story.
And Nassar followed up the story in subsequent emails, telling Himsel that he “stuck with the story.”
Later, Himsel agreed to use a story that depicted Nassar as “focusing on his private practice” rather than as being under investigation for sexual abuse.
While it isn’t surprising that USA Gymnastics withheld concerns about Larry Nassar from its members — because it was all revealed in his subsequent trial and conviction — this is the first time that actual evidence had been offered as proof that the USA Gymnastics governing body was willing to help Nassar foist his deceptions upon the unsuspecting public.
What’s more, thanks to USA Gymnastics’ seeming willingness to foist Nassar’s deceptions on the unsuspecting public, he was able to maintain his impeccable reputation for 14 months after he was first investigated by the FBI for his misconduct.
In addition, Nassar was not added to the organization’s list of people banned from the sport.
The USA Gymnastics committee said that they first received complaints about Nassar in June 2015, but at least 14 more girls came forward after that first alleged complaint was filed in June 2015.
Experts who contributed to the IndyStar story suggested that, had USA Gymnastics been more proactive in addressing the concerns surrounding Nassar — instead of covering it up with false stories about his illness and his private practice — they could have prevented a lot more girls from being abused.
Larry Nassar was convicted of child pornography charges in July 2017, of seven counts of sexual assault of minors in January 2018, and of three additional counts of sexual assault of minors in February 2018.