USA Gymnastics has been under fire lately. A fire that continues to grow by the minute.
Just over a week ago, a group of well-known USA gold-medal gymnasts such as Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney claimed they were victims of sexual abuse, assault and misconduct. The man accused of the allegations was highly regarded trainer Larry Nassar. Since then, over 100 women claimed they were once abused by Nassar as early as age six. Not too long ago, he was known as the best and most trusted gymnastics trainer in America. Now, he finds himself in a historic court case that is just getting started.
USA Gymnastics is under scrutiny for their complicit role in the case. Most of the women who have testified claimed that they told Team USA employees about the incidents and were assured that it would be handled immediately. Instead, USA Gymnastics did nothing, and hoped to keep the abuse claims private in order to avoid questions about Nassar’s other scandals, dating back to the 1990's.
Questions regarding who knew about the scandal have grown during the trial. Who knew what? When did they find out? How much did they know? Once these questions are finally answered, everyone who was complicit in the scandal will likely be punished.
Michigan State University also finds itself under boiling water, as their campus was the scene of the crime in the 1990's. Additionally, the university has employees who were informed about Larry Nassar. They, too, said nothing.
There is not specific word that can truly describe the impact of this investigation. The lives of victims, Team USA, coaches, MSU staff members, and families have all been negatively forever changed. No one knows how many more lives will be impacted before the end of the court case.
The investigation has yet to conclude, meaning more details will come out, which might heighten the ugliness of the crime.
Unfortunately, it takes stories and cases like these to make the public notice sexual abuse. People need to be more aware of the frequency and regularity of such cases. When it does happen, people need to do whatever they can to make sure the criminal is punished immediately. There is no reason that two decades should pass before heinous crimes like those of Larry Nassar are discovered. It is important to listen to the allegations and take them serious. It is disappointing to know that organizations like USA Gymnastics did not punish Nassar in order to protect its brand and reputation. Because people and their lives are what matters most, and it is about time for those who discount the severity of sexual abuse get on the same page as everyone else.