United States Congress leaders on Wednesday questioned the leaders of USA Gymnastics and US Olympic Committee for their organisations’ role in failing to stop sexual abuse.
According to CNN, US Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, the state where former gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abused hundreds of women, reproached US Olympic Committee acting CEO Susanne Lyons over how long it took to launch a Safe Sport policy to address safety concerns of the athletes.
“Why should I take confidence from what you’re saying today when you look at this timeline? You keep telling me ‘We’re working on it, we’re setting up a study.’ Is it going to take another five years? What are we doing to protect these young people right now so this never happens again?,” CNN quoted Dingell as questioning the Olympic Committee.
“I appreciate your anger and concern and I share it, and I understand how frustrating it must seem and how incompetent it must seem that we didn’t do something sooner,” was Lyons’ response.
Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor and Michigan State University team physician, admitted in a Michigan court that he had used his influence and position as a trusted medical professional to sexually abuse young girls and women over two decades.
Several of the women abused by Nassar, including gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman, have said USA Gymnastics is responsible for not doing more to stop the years of abuse.
In court in January, Raisman said the organisation was “rotting from the inside” and called on Kerry Perry, president, and CEO of USA Gymnastics to take responsibility for the issue.
Perry and Lyons opened the hearing on Wednesday by apologising for the actions of Nassar, whose abuse of high-profile Olympians had created a renewed focus on sexual abuse in the Olympic ranks.