USA Gymnastics parts with head of women’s program

Larry Nassar: What to know
USA Gymnastics via Wikimedia Commons
Michigan State and USA Gymnastics are named as defendants in a number of civil lawsuits by more than 100 accusers, some of whom accuse the institutions of concealing or improperly dismissing allegations of abuse.

The fallout from the Larry Nassar abuse scandal continues, with USA Gymnastics announcing Friday that Rhonda Faehn, the head of the women’s program, is no longer with the organization.

CEO and president of USA Gymnastics Kerry Perry made the announcement in a statement. She did not say if Faehn had resigned or been fired, citing that it is a “personnel matter that we will not discuss in detail.”

Faehn was named senior vice president of the women’s program in April 2015, after she had recently led the University of Florida to its third consecutive NCAA women’s gymnastics title. Organization officials first heard allegations in the summer of 2015 that Larry Nassar, the former doctor for the US team who also worked at Michigan State University, had abused U.S. national team members.

Nassar later admitted in court to using his position as a trusted medical doctor to sexually abuse young girls and women who came to him for medical care for about two decades. He was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

Some of the former doctor’s victims are suing USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee. John Manly, an attorney for hundreds of victims, accused the USOC and USA Gymnastics of “a conspiracy to silence victims and cover up the largest child sex abuse scandal in history.”

Earlier this week, Michigan State University said it will pay $500 million to settle lawsuits brought by 332 of Nassar’s victims.

“We recognize that change can be difficult, but we will not be deterred from making necessary and bold decisions to transform our organization,” Perry’s statement said. “At USA Gymnastics, we are focused every day on creating a highly empowered culture that puts our athletes first.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be communicating some positive changes that reinforce our desire to have our athletes train and compete at the highest level in an empowering and safe environment.”

The U.S. women’s team camp began this week in Crossville, Tennessee. According to the organization’s website, this is the only camp prior to the American Classic (July 6-7, site TBD), the U.S. Classic (July 28, Columbus, Ohio) and the U.S. Gymnastics Championships (August 16-19, Boston).