In February, a number of former members of the USA Gymnastics national team filed a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a team doctor. In the lawsuit, more than 40 plaintiffs, ages 9 to 18, stepped forward and accused Dr. Lawrence Nassar of sexual abuse. Today, USA Gymnastics apologized for its recklessness and its lack of protection for the many who suffered the hands of Nassar.
The statement, signed by the board of directors, reads, “USA Gymnastics is very sorry that anyone has been harmed during his or her gymnastics career, and we offer our deepest regrets to any athlete who suffered abuse or mistreatment while participating in the sport. By working together, we can move the sport forward to better prevent the opportunity for abuse to occur."
The statement then went on to discuss the most recent actions the organization has taken to better protect its athletes, by conducting a comprehensive review of “procedures and bylaws regarding sexual misconduct,” and implementing new policies.
Some of these new policies include:
— Adult members are prohibited from being alone with minor gymnasts at all times.
— Unrelated adults are prohibited from sharing or being alone in a sleeping room with gymnasts.
— Adult members are prohibited from having out-of-program contact with gymnasts via email, text or social media.
— New requirements are in place regarding physical contact between adults and gymnasts.
Last year the Indianapolis Star revealed that Nassar had, since 2007, allegedly molested several young girls and women. Since then, more than 100 women have come forward with personal accounts of alleged abuse. Nassar was also charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct in an unrelated case last year.