On January 24th, the Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexual assault of gymnasts 15 years or younger. Now, the Board of Directors of USA Gymnastics is experiencing the repercussions of allowing that abuse to go on for decades.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has called on the entire board of USA Gymnastics to resign before January 31st. If they fail to resign, the U.S. Olympic Committee "Will move to terminate its status as the sport's national governing body," reported Yahoo.
Nassar served as national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics from 1996 to 2014. He continued to treat gymnasts through 2016. He pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving girls who were 15 years old or younger. Afterwards, nearly 160 women came forward with abuse allegations against him.
USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun demanded the resignation in a letter addressed to the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors on Thursday. The letter acknowledged that there have been recent resignations from the board, but they asked for more drastic measures.
"We are also aware of the recent resignations of USAG board chair Paul Parilla and three other board members," the letter states. "Now that these steps have been completed, USAG must build on them with a categorically fresh start at the board level."
The letter lays out six steps USA Gymnastics must complete in order to avoid losing their status as the sport's governing body. The first step is the resignation of the entire board.
"The other steps include naming an interim board by Jan. 31, a new permanent board within the next year, increased USOC oversight, including a designated liaison, and mandated SafeSport and ethics training," reported Yahoo.
SafeSport is an organization partnered with the USOC. According to their website, they are dedicating to protecting athletes because "all athletes deserve to participate in sports [that] are free from bullying, hazing, sexual misconduct, or any form of emotional or physical abuse."
The letter does not implicate the board in covering up the Nassar allegations. However, it does call for change because gymnastics "culture needs fundamental rebuilding."
"We do not base these requirements on any knowledge that any individual USAG staff or board members had a role in fostering or obscuring Nassar’s actions," the letter reads. "Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding."
While USOC doesn't implicate the board in covering up Nassar, many of the women who came forward were critical of the way the board handled the scandal. McKayla Maroney, who won a gold medal as part of the women's gymnastics team in 2012, has filed a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics saying they "failed to properly investigate, disciple or remove" Nassar.
"In 2015 when USA Gymnastics admits that they became aware that he had molested girls, they didn't call Child Protective Services," Maroney's lawyer John Manly told ABC News in December. "Instead they hired a private investigator and they waited five weeks. ... He was allowed to stay in the treatment room and treated dozens and dozens of little girls over the next year. ... They allowed him to put out a cover story that he was retiring from USA Gymnastics when it wasn't true. They were getting rid of him."