USA Gymnastics agreed to use false excuses in 2015 to account for the absence of sports doctor Larry Nassar, who had been accused of sexually abusing female athletes, according to emails obtained by a newspaper.
According to the emails, Nassar suggested that USA Gymnastics tell people that he couldn't attend two major events that summer because he was sick or needed to focus on his work at Michigan State University, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday.
“We'll let Ron know to advise people that you weren't feeling well and decided to stay home,” Scott Himsel, an attorney hired by USA Gymnastics, replied, referring to Ron Galimore, chief operating officer.
USA Gymnastics, which trains the U.S. Olympic team, is accused of covering up assault allegations against Nassar. The group didn't tell Michigan State or elite gymnastics clubs that fed the Olympic team about complaints against him in 2015.
Nassar publicly stated in September 2015 that he was retiring from Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, but he continued to treat young women and girls for many months at his Michigan State office and a gym near Lansing, Mich.
USA Gymnastics and Himsel declined to comment on the Star story. The group has said it didn't disclose the Nassar investigation to others based on guidance from the FBI.
“I don't think that they cared at all,” Olympian Aly Raisman, who accused Nassar of multiple assaults, said. “I think at first it was to get Nassar away from the Olympians, but when it was about a 10-year-old or a 15-year-old or 20-year-old in Michigan, they didn't care.”
Nassar is serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography.