Shaheen Calls For Establishment of Select Committee to Investigate U.S. Olympic Committee & USA Gymnastics Over Decades of Sexual Abuse By Team DoctorJanuary 25, 2018
**Shaheen Requests Select Committee Be Established Before PyeongChang Games on February 9th**
**Shaheen Calls for Parity between Male and Female Committee Membership **
(Washington, DC) – Last night, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called for the immediate establishment of a Select Committee to conduct an investigation into the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics regarding how team doctor Larry Nassar was given unsupervised access to female gymnasts, allowing him to sexually abuse them over decades. Shaheen called for the committee to be established before the Winter Olympic Games begin in February and that there be parity between male and female committee membership. On Wednesday, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing more than 150 women and girls. In his sentencing hearing, survivors shared victim impact statements, some detailing that they reported Nassar’s sexual abuse as far back as 1997. Nassar was previously investigated by Michigan State University officials in 2014 for assault.
“Larry Nassar will spend a lifetime in prison but enormous disturbing questions remain as to how he was able to freely abuse young girls for decades,” said Senator Shaheen. “All those who Nassar abused deserve answers to these questions. We also risk the safety of others without institutional accountability. The Senate should immediately establish a comprehensive investigation and begin this critical work. The House should also follow the Senate’s lead and finally pass legislation authored by Senator Feinstein which establishes a clear protocol for reporting abuse to law enforcement.”
In her letter Shaheen wrote, “This was not a case of negligence or failed oversight on the part of the USOC and USA Gymnastics. These organizations have serious questions to answer, including why they allowed this criminal behavior to occur, and they need to answer these questions publically before a Select Committee of the Senate.”
Shaheen continued, “The USOC is a federally chartered institution and its athletes compete under the American flag, so the Senate has a clear responsibility to expand this investigation beyond the narrow criminal charges adjudicated in Michigan … Authorization for this investigation must include subpoena power to compel the two organizations to produce relevant documents and internal communications.”
In her letter, Senator Shaheen highlights the national cultural awakening on sexual harassment and assault, and the need to ensure victims are heard and that those who were complicit in these crimes are held accountable. She specifically calls for equal representation between female and male senators on the committee and that the committee be established before the Winter Games begin in PyeongChang on February 9th.
The letter can be read in full here.
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