The FBI has been recently informed by USA Gymnastics of sexual abuse suspicion against Dr. Larry Nassar, the national team physician. Before taking the issue to the FBI, an internal investigation had been conducted by the sport's national governing body.

Larry Nassar, a 53 year-old osteopathic physician, is currently in jail, charged of criminal sexual abuse against a 13-year-old, and child pornography.

He was arrested on November 21, after reported allegations from Rachael Denhollander and an unnamed Olympic athlete. According to the athletes, Larry Nassar used medical treatments as a disguise to abuse them.

Since the episode, over 60 people – Nassar’s former patients – have already contacted the FBI to report the doctor. Some of them state that Larry Nassar penetrated their vagina and anus using his ungloved fingers, without their consent. However, the doctor claims that it was all part of medical procedures, which were misunderstood by his patients.

The sexual abuse against the USA athletes

The problems regarding the doctor started to come out in June 2015, when a coach heard the stories from a national team member and from an elite gymnast, according to the attorney John Manly. After hearing the athletes, the coach approached the Usa Gymnastics senior vice president, Rhonda Faehn, and told her what had happened. Faehn decided to immediately call the organization’s president, Steve Penny.

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After a few days, the organization’s president spoke to the athletes’ family and the coach, trying to convince them that involving the FBI at that moment was not the best of ideas, which upset them. John Manly stated that it was USA Gymnastics’ duty to notify the authorities as soon as they heard about the sexual abuse, and not only six weeks later, as they did. Due to that, Manly believes that USA Gymnastics should also be investigated.

The organization denied having handled the matter clumsily and claimed that as soon as the president heard about the facts, he started talking to the athletes’ family and coach, in order to find the best solution possible regarding the situation. Besides that, USA Gymnastics hired an experienced private investigator to make sure the matter was being handled properly, and who reported the facts to the FBI.

USA Gymnastics’ attitude is considered questionable

USA Gymnastics’ attitude has been much criticized by Shelley Haymaker, an attorney who represents abused children, in Indiana. She claims that in the states’ statute, there is not a mention of hiring private investigators in cases like these, and that it should be investigated by law enforcement experts.

After having reported the matter to the FBI, in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics complained about not receiving much information and updates regarding the case.

Besides that, the organization said that they were instructed by the FBI not to discuss the matter against the doctor.

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