US Senate lawmakers, who have taken on the task of investigating sexual abuse in sports, raised concerns of “potential systemic issues” on Tuesday after responses from the USA Gymnastics and the Olympic Committee did not provide any new significant details about their methods of dealing with accusations of abuse.
The US Senate commenced with investigations into other Olympic sports after the first sentencing hearing for the former doctor of the USA Gymanstics’ national team Larry Nassar who pleaded guilty to molesting a number of female athletes. In January and February, in two separate hearings, Nassar was sentenced for his crimes to 40 to 175 years and 40 to 125 years in prison.
The investigations are to determine the full extent of abuse in sport.
Senators Richard Blumental, a Democrat, and Jerry Moran, a Republican, who oversee the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, issued a joint statement saying they wished to determine if officials at the U.S. Olympic Committee (USUC) and the sport’s national governing body could have been able to stop the former Olympic doctor’s abuse.
The Senate Subcommittee now still awaits responses from 53 other Olympic sports including sports such as figure skating and skating.
“After our initial review, we remain concerned about potential systemic issues within these institutions and plan to seek additional clarification,” the statement read.
The senators shared copies of the written responses from the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where Nassar was also employed and treated young athletes. The president and the athletic director of Michigan State University have resigned, and the school said last week it would fire a dean who oversaw the college where Nassar worked.
The senators decided to start off focusing on an early complaint by one of the gymnasts involved who said she was pressured into signing a non-disclosure agreement with USA Gymnastics after she accused Nassar of abuse.
Close to 200 women, including Olympic gold medal-winning gymnasts Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman, delivered statements at the sentencing hearings about Nassar’s abuse. The searing accounts reportedly led the entire board of USA Gymnastics to resign.
USOC and USA Gymnastics did not reply to requests for comment about the senators’ remarks.