Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny has been arrested after allegedly tampering with evidence in the investigation of the former team doctor and convicted sex criminal Larry Nassar, according to The Guardian.
The indictment alleges that Penny told staff to remove documents from Karolyi Ranch, which related to Nassar’s abuse, after he found out authorities were sent to investigate the ranch, per The Guardian.
An investigation was launched into the ranch at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott after the scandal broke, saying that “recent, shocking allegations of sexual assault of athletes at the Karolyi Ranch in Walker County are deeply disturbing.”
The massive 2,000-acre training center became the U.S. Women’s National Team official training center in 2001 and a U.S. Olympic training site in 2011. Nassar served as the national team’s doctor for much of that time.
Several gymnasts, including Simone Biles, came forward and told the world that they had been abused by Nassar at the facility, as reported by CNN.
After the sexual abuse scandal broke earlier this year, USA Gymnastics pulled out of purchasing the ranch, citing “unexpected financial expenditures.”
The indictment alleges that the requested documents were brought to Penny at the USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis and then disappeared, never to be recovered by any investigative body.
According to a district attorney’s office statement, the documents would have “assisted with the investigation of other offenses that may have occurred at the Karolyi Ranch.”
Penny was forced to step down in March 2017 under public pressure and, if convicted, could spend up to 10 years behind bars and a hefty $10,000 fine.
Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for seven counts of criminal sexual conduct, a sentence that will be served in addition to two other convictions for criminal sexual conduct and child pornography earlier this year, as reported by the Inquisitr.
Nassar currently faces six counts of sexual assault on a child, along with former USA Gymnastics trainer Deborah Van Horn facing one count of sexual assault of a child in Texas, according to prosecutors.
#Breaking: Officials in Walker County, Texas arrest former USA Gymnastics @USAgym CEO Steve Penny for Tampering with Evidence charges for allegedly removing documents from the Karolyi Ranch. #Nassar #abc13 #gymnastics pic.twitter.com/vtgrnljvOI
— Miya Shay (@ABC13Miya) October 18, 2018
Penny was arrested in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where his attorney said he was spending time with his family on vacation and insisted he had no knowledge he had been indicted in Texas.
“If Mr. Penny had any idea he was sought in Texas this would have been appropriately handled through counsel without terrifying his family,” Edith Matthai said.
She added that he is confident the facts will show he did nothing criminal.