Aly Raisman sues US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics over inaction on sexual abuse

Aly Raisman sues US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics over inaction on sexual abuse
Olympian Aly Raisman is suing the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, and contends that both organizations "knew or should have known" about team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abusing athletes, (Harry How/Getty Images)

Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman filed a lawsuit against the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, NBC News reported Friday. The suit contends that both organizations “knew or should have known” about team doctor Larry Nassar sexually abusing athletes, including Raisman.

In a statement reported by Sports Illustrated, Raisman said:

My highest priority has been to push for change, so future generations of athletes will be safer. It has become painfully clear that these organizations have no intention of properly addressing the problem. After all this time, they remain unwilling to conduct a full investigation, and without a solid understanding of how this happened, it is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented.

Meanwhile, thousands of young athletes continue to train and compete every day in this same broken system. I refuse to wait any longer for those organization to do the right thing. It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed.

Dr. Nassar worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University. He eventually admitted to sexually abusing athletes, after more than 150 women and girls came forward with accusations against him. Nassar is serving sentences of up to 175 years for sexual assault and federal child-pornography charges.

USA Gymnastics waited more than a month before alerting the FBI after national team member Maggie Nichols reported Nassar’s abuse in 2015. The doctor continued to practice for another year at Michigan State before the school fired him after abuse allegations from two former gymnasts were brought to light by the Indianapolis Star.

The Olympic Committee claimed to have had no knowledge of the abuse until the Star’s article was published, but USA Gymnastics had in fact alerted the committee’s security chief in an email a year prior. According to USOC, that email was never circulated.

Raisman made headlines in January 2018 with a scathing testimony during Nassar’s sentencing hearing, not only rebuking the doctor, but the organizations now named in her lawsuit. She questioned why representatives from USA Gymnastics had only attended half the hearing that day, and why the USOC hadn’t bothered to show up at all.

In her statement, Raisman asked, “Why have I and the others here probably not heard anything from the leadership of the USOC? Why has the US Olympic Committee been silent? Why isn’t the USOC here right now?”