What you need to know:
- Larry Nassar was convicted and sentenced to prison for molestation and sex abuse charges.
- Nassar had abused US athletes and gymnasts.
- In new developments, the FBI and other US-based Olympic organisations knew about the complaints against him, but did nothing about it.
Dubai: Remember former USA Gymnastics (USAG) national team doctor Larry Nassar? In 2018, he was convicted for sexually abusing young American athletes for over a decade and was sentenced to life in prison.
Since then, there has been a shocking update in the case.
According to a report by US based website Buzzfeed, after an 18-month investigation, a Congressional report stated that US-based Olympic organisations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), knew of Nassar’s crimes for a year, but chose not to act.
They “knowingly concealed” his abuse.
The investigation was conducted by the Senate commerce subcommittee on manufacturing, trade and consumer protection and found that multiple organisations failed to act on credible reports.
The article quotes Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat and a member of the subcommittee who said: “They turned a blind eye to the ongoing evil of this monster.... He was enabled and emboldened by people in positions of trust who looked the other way.”
The news shocked online users who criticised the different bodies in question for their inaction.
@RollCall79 posted: “You think someone getting a license is going to stop them from assault? Tell that to Larry Nassar.... A licensed doctor who ...molested hundreds of gymnasts.”
Tweep @kenwise46 posted: “...Thank God for the lawyers who fight for justice and dignity of their clients against the rich and powerful.”
And @kennuck posted: “Just watched documentary on pedophile Larry Nassar. Shocking how many didn’t believe these kids. I fired a teacher who was a pedophile after being told that there was a problem but none of my predecessors had been able to get rid of him. Listen and respond without exception.”
FBI to blame
A report by UK-based newspaper, The Guardian, stated that the FBI opened an investigation into Nassar in July 2015, after receiving many reports against him.
They quote the Congressional report, which said that the FBI “did not stop Nassar from seeing patients or protect those in harm’s way”.
The article further adds that “legislation arising from the investigation would allow Congress to fire the board of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Gymnastics if necessary”.
A new legislation aims to protect Olympic and amateur athletes in the wake of this scandal.
The Empowering Olympic and Amateur Athletes Act is a bipartisan effort to give the US Congress more control over governing organisations in Olympic sports.
More about the case
The USA gymnastics sex abuse scandal is one of the biggest scandals in sports history and it lined with the #MeToo movement creating waves in Hollywood, and around the world.
In 2016, more than 200 women including Olympic medal winners Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and Maggie Nichols accused Nassar of sexually assaulting them.
In the summer of 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges and was sentenced to 60 years in prison in December 2017.
On January 24, 2018, Nassar was sentenced to an additional 40 to 175 years in prison, set to run after Nassar served his 60-year sentence.
In 2018, Olympic medal winner Aly Raisman delivered a statement in court against Nassar. She said: “Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice. Well you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice, and I am only beginning to just use them.
“All these brave women have power and we will use our voices to make sure you get what you deserve — a life of suffering spent replaying the words delivered by this powerful army of survivors.”
On February 5, 2018, Nassar received another 40 to 125 years.
As of 2019, he is incarcerated at United States Penitentiary, Coleman; a high security facility for male inmates in Florida.