Senators refer ex-USOC chief Blackmun to Dept. of Justice for possible investigation

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Two U.S. senators on Friday accused former U.S. Olympic Committee chief government Scott Blackmun of mendacity to Congress about his response to sexual abuse complaints in opposition to former Olympic gymnastics group doctor Larry Nassar, and referred him to the Division of Justice for potential legal investigation.

In written statements submitted to a Senate Commerce subcommittee investigating Nassar’s abuses in June, Blackmun claimed that in 2015 – after studying that USA Gymnastics chief government Steve Penny deliberate to report Nassar to regulation enforcement for suspicion of sexual assault – he mentioned the matter with USOC workers who had backgrounds in sexual abuse circumstances to find out how the USOC ought to reply.

“I spoke to the USOC’s secure sport workers after speaking to Mr. Penny. My understanding was that reporting the physician to regulation enforcement was probably the most aggressive factor that may very well be completed. I additionally understood that after it was reported, the difficulty ought to be left within the arms of regulation enforcement – we didn’t need to intervene with their investigation in any manner,” wrote Blackmun, who has drawn criticism, together with USA Gymnastics officers, for not contacting officers at Michigan State, the place Nassar continued to assault his sufferers underneath the guise of medical care for one more 14 months.

Blackmun’s written remarks to the senators had been incorrect, in accordance with an impartial investigation launched Monday, carried out by a regulation agency employed by the USOC. Blackmun acknowledged to the investigators – who had been unable to search out any corroborating proof he spoke to his workers within the secure sport division, which offers with sexual abuse circumstances – that he had been mistaken, and hadn’t consulted them.

“It seems that Mr. Blackmun has made false claims and misled our Subcommittee – harming the investigation and skill to develop coverage,” stated Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., in a information launch saying their referral of Blackmun to the Justice Division for potential crimes involving mendacity to Congress and obstructing an investigation. “Simply as importantly, survivors of abuse have needed to wait longer for the reality and longer for systemic adjustments to assist stop others from related damage.”

Greater than two years after Nassar’s arrest, and almost a yr after a rare seven-day sentencing listening to for the disgraced former sports activities doctor generated nationwide outrage over his rampant abuse of younger women and girls, together with a number of Olympians, Friday’s growth is the most recent signal the authorized fallout from Nassar’s crimes is way from over.

Penny, the previous USA Gymnastics CEO, faces a legal cost of proof tampering, over allegations he had paperwork faraway from the previous nationwide group coaching heart in Texas regarding Nassar’s therapy of younger gymnasts. Former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon faces a cost of mendacity to enforcement in Michigan about her data of a 2014 investigation into Nassar’s conduct. And now Blackmun, as soon as one of the revered and influential executives in Olympic sports activities, may face authorized scrutiny.

Moran and Blumenthal’s subcommittee has been investigating Nassar’s abuses, and the broader subject of intercourse abuse in America’s Olympic sports activities organizations, for a lot of 2018. A subcommittee spokesman stated Friday the senators plan to launch a written report summarizing their findings early subsequent yr, with the chance of some kind of legislative suggestions. It’s broadly anticipated senators will once more study the Ted Stevens Olympic and Beginner Sports activities Act, the federal regulation that governs Olympic sports activities organizations.

Nassar, 55, is serving an efficient life sentence for federal little one pornography crimes, and likewise has admitted to assaulting 9 women and girls in Michigan, the place he labored at Michigan State and handled younger gymnasts all through the state for many years. Greater than 350 women and girls have accused him of sexual abuse, together with Olympians Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas.

An lawyer with a background in sports activities leisure, Blackmun took over as CEO of the USOC in 2010, when the group’s worldwide standing was at a nadir, after a failed bid to land the 2016 Summer season Video games for Chicago.

In eight years as CEO, Blackmun acquired usually excessive marks for smoothing over relations with different Olympic organizations, and successful Los Angeles the 2028 Summer season Video games, however he drew persistent criticism from intercourse abuse victims and their advocates for his hands-off strategy to the difficulty, regardless of a sequence of abuse scandals in sports activities together with swimming, speedskating and gymnastics relationship to the 1990s.

In his interview with investigators from Ropes & Grey regulation agency this summer time, in accordance with the report revealed earlier this week, Blackmun acknowledged, when he took the job in 2010, intercourse abuse was “not on my radar.”

“After I began in 2010 if somebody stated what are the highest fifteen priorities for the USOC, I wouldn’t have had intercourse abuse on the listing,” Blackmun stated, in accordance with the report.

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