A Senate committee looking into sexual abuse among members of America’s Olympic community, is now urging the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate former Olympic CEO Scott Blackmun for lying to Congress.
The letter sent by the Senate subcommittee insisted that its investigation revealed that Blackmun made “materially false statements” in his written testimony where the Olympic official said he spoke to then-USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny in July 2015 about abuse in gymnastics, USA Today reported.
“Mr. Blackmun has made false claims and misled our Subcommittee,” the letter released Friday stated before adding, “harming the investigation and our ability to develop policy.”
“Just as importantly, survivors of abuse have had to wait longer for the truth and longer for systemic changes to help prevent others from similar injury,” said the letter signed by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), the chair of the subcommittee, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security.
The Senators insist that Blackmun’s testimony conflicts with what USOC chief told investigators from Boston-based law firm Ropes & Gray.
Blackmun, who resigned from the USOC in February after serving for eight years, has taken harsh criticism for his response to the years of sexual abuse in USA Gymnastics and that organization’s history of failing to address the issue.
Indeed, Blackmun has been accused of working to paper over the allegations. The Ropes & Gray investigators said that “When the … allegations of sexual assault were squarely presented to USAG and the USOC, the two organizations, at the direction of their respective CEOs, engaged in affirmative efforts to protect and preserve their institutional interests.”
In his written testimony, Blackmun told the subcommittee that he had passed word onto the USOC about the allegations of sexual abuse at USA Gymnastics, but other investigations say that no one was aware of the allegations until former gymnast Rachael Denhollander went public with her claims of abuse at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar.
Blackmun also claimed he called a meeting of USOC officials to discuss the allegations of sexual abuse, but the Ropes & Gray investigators could find no evidence that such a meeting ever took place.
The former USOC head is accused of not doing enough to address the abuse allegations as well as lying about what he did do about the issue.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has not yet responded to the subcommittee’s letter.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.