Jan. 22 (UPI) — Several members of the USA Gymnastics’ board of directors have elected to resign.
The moves come as scores of sexual assault victims testify against former team doctor Larry Nassar at Ingram County Circuit Court in Lansing, Mich.
Nassar — who also served as a doctor at Michigan State — is being sentenced on multiple counts of sexual assault. More than 100 women and teens are expected to provide statements in front of Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, regarding the abuse.
He pleaded guilty in November to sexually assaulting 10 girls under the guise of medical treatment. He was previously sentenced to 60 years in prison in December, after he pleaded guilty in July to child pornography charges.
USA Gymnastics’ board of directors executive leadership chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley tendered their resignations, effective Sunday, according to a statement released Monday by USA Gymnastics.
“We support their decisions to resign at this time,” Kerry Perry, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics said in the statement. We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization.”
“As the board identifies its next chair and fills the vacant board positions, we remain focused on working every day to ensure that our culture, policies and actions reflect our commitment to those we serve.”
Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Weber are among those athletes who have said they were molested by Nassar.
Raisman confronted Nassar at his sentencing on Friday.
“You are so sick, I can’t even comprehend how angry I feel when I think of you,” Raisman said at the sentencing.
“Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice. Well, you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice and I’m only beginning to just use them. All of these brave women have power, and we will use our voices to make sure you get what you deserve.”
Biles and Raisman have both cited USA Gymnastics’ culpability in their statements regarding Nassar.
“For too long I have asked myself, ‘Was I too naive? Was it my fault?’ I now know the answers to those questions. No. No, it was not my fault. No, I will not and should not carry the guilt that belongs to Larry Nassar, USAG [USA Gymnastics], and others,” Biles wrote in her Jan. 15 statement.
Raisman called USA Gymnastics out for “victim shaming.”
“@USAGym STOP VICTIM SHAMING. Your statements are hurtful. If you did not believe that I & others were abused than why pressure & manipulate us? WE WERE MOLESTED BY A MONSTER U ENABLED 2 THRIVE FOR DECADES. You are 100% responsible. It was mandatory to get “treatment” by Nassar,” Raisman tweeted on Jan. 10.
Raisman also took aim at USA Gymnastics for allowing athletes to train at the Karolyi Ranch up until it terminated an agreement with the ranch on Thursday. Several of the athletes have said they were abused by Nassar at the Walker County, Texas training facility.
“Kerry [Perry], I’ve never met you, and I know you weren’t around for most of this. But you accepted the position of president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, and I assume by now you are very well aware of the weighty responsibility you’ve taken on,” Raisman said in her statement. “Unfortunately, you’ve taken on an organization that I feel is rotting from the inside. And while this may not be what you thought you were getting into, you will be judged by how you deal with it.”
“A word of advice: Continuing to issue statements of empty promises thinking that will pacify us will no longer work. Yesterday, USA Gymnastics announced that it was terminating its lease at the Ranch, where so many of us were abused. I am glad that it is no longer a national team training site, but USA Gymnastics neglected to mention that they had athletes training there the day they released the statement. USA Gymnastics, where is the honesty? Where is the transparency? Why must the manipulation continue?”
Nassar, 54, joined the national team staff in 1986. He held the role as the team’s medical coordinator until 2015.