Congress will investigate handling of Nassar case at MSU, USAG, US Olympic Committee, Twistars

By Nick Monacelli - Reporter, Ken Haddad

Larry Nassar in court Feb. 5, 2018. (WDIV)

Congress is opening a second investigation into the handling of the Larry Nassar sex abuse case at various institutions.

The investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will focus on the handling by Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, US Olympic Committee and Twistars.  

The Committee sent letters to the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, Inc., Michigan State University, Twistars USA Gymnastics Club and Karolyi Ranch regarding sexual assault within the U.S. gymnastics system. A list of question were presented in the letters, asking pointed questions about procedures, who knew what and more.

The Committee is asking for responses from the organizations by Feb. 22.   

Rep. Mike Bishop, one of the lawmakers who called for the investigation, said, “I’m glad this investigation is moving forward. We must do all in our power to prevent these abused from occurring in the future.”

This investigation is the second launched by Congress. Similar letters were sent by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce with a response deadline of Feb. 9.  

When asked if the organizations had filled responses, a committee spokesperson said, “The committee is right now in the early stages of this investigation, and all requested institutions have been cooperative so far. Our work continues and updates will be available as appropriate.”

Local 4 also asked Michigan State University for a copy of its response to the Committee.

Spokesman Kent Cassella said, “We are cooperating with all investigations and inquiries. We are working with them to negotiate deadlines as we continue to provide the requested materials. As MSU is the subject of these investigations and inquiries, it is not appropriate for us to comment on the specific content of materials provided.”

An example of a letter sent by the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform is below:

Dear Ms. Perry:
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, MARYLAND
RANKING MINORITY MEMBER

Two weeks ago, former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced for
sexually assaulting and molesting young female gymnasts under the appalling pretense of
medical care. Sexual assault should never be tolerated, but when it does occur, it is imperative
that swift and immediate action be taken to stop the abuse, prevent it from recurring, and address
its effects.

Unfortunately, a lack of action allowed Nassar's offenses to infect nearly every level of
gymnastics in our country. At his sentencing hearing, Nassar was confronted by 156 courageous
women who came forward about the crimes he perpetrated against them, 1 and more than 60
additional women testified at another sentencing hearing last week. 2 One of the most disturbing
aspects of the survivors' accounts is how this reprehensible conduct went undetected or ignored
for years. Coaches, instructors, law enforcement, and other trusted adults all failed these young
athletes.

The Committee is investigating how Nassar's crimes were able to occur, let alone
persist, for over two decades. USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for the sport in the
United States, is at the center of many of these failures. The Committee seeks to better
understand USA Gymnastics's responsibility to its gymnastics clubs and gyms, its policies and
procedures on sexual assault, and the actions it plans to take in response to this pervasive sexual
abuse within the sport. 

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