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Olympics

Coach suspended, three USA Gymnastics leaders resign as more abuse victims speak out in court

Larry Nassar is escorted into the courtroom, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in Lansing, Mich., during the fo
Larry Nassar is escorted into the courtroom Friday. USA Gymnastics announced Monday that three board members have tendered their resignations.
(Dale G. Young / Associated Press)

The sexual abuse scandal that has rocked U.S. gymnastics grew wider Monday as the sport’s national governing body announced the suspension of a gold-medal-winning Olympic coach and the resignation of three board members.

The latest developments, involving coach John Geddert and key leadership, took place amid complaints that USA Gymnastics failed to protect young athletes who were molested by sports doctor Larry Nassar.

The announcements coincided with a marathon court hearing in Michigan, where scores of victims have come forward to speak as Nassar awaits sentencing on criminal sexual conduct.

“I’m possibly the last child he will ever assault,” teenager Emma Ann Miller said in the Lansing, Mich., courtroom on Monday. “This is a burden, at 15, I shouldn’t have to bear.”

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Well over 100 athletes — including Olympians such as Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney — have said Nassar molested them under the guise of conducting medical treatments.

The 54-year-old doctor had served in an official capacity for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, among others. Victims have criticized those organizations and the U.S. Olympic Committee for ignoring early complaints about him.

During a court appearance last week, Raisman called for national officials to be held accountable for what happened.

“The reality is, you caused me a great deal of physical, mental and emotional pain,” she told Nassar. “You never healed me.”

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USA Gymnastics, based in Indianapolis, confirmed late Monday that Geddert had been suspended under the provisions of its bylaws. The coach, who led the 2012 U.S. women to a team gold, has long-standing ties to Nassar and owns a Michigan gym where some of the molestations occurred.

Geddert worked directly with Jordyn Wieber, another Olympian who last week confronted Nassar in court.

Though USA Gymnastics officials declined further comment on the matter, they characterized the same-day resignations of chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder and treasurer Bitsy Kelley as a positive development.

“We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization,” new president and Chief Executive Kerry Perry said. “As the board identifies its next chair and fills the vacant board positions, we remain focused on working every day to ensure that our culture, policies and actions reflect our commitment to those we serve.”

The governing body recently severed ties with the famed Karolyi Ranch, run by the husband-and-wife coaching duo of Bela and Martha Karolyi. The Huntsville, Texas, facility, which had long served as a national training center, was among the sites where Nassar is accused of sexual abuse.

In his current trial, Nassar accepted a plea deal that calls for a minimum range of 25 to 40 years in prison. His sentencing is expected to take place later this week, after his victims finish giving impact statements.

He has pleaded guilty to additional counts in other proceedings and has been sentenced to 60 years in a separate child pornography case.

During her court appearance Monday, Miller was especially critical of Michigan State, where she began getting treatments for a back injury as a child. She urged Nassar to reveal if officials participated in a coverup.

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“Do the right thing,” she said. “Tell us who knew what and when.”

david.wharton@latimes.com

Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter


UPDATES:

6:30 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout.

This article was originally published at 12:10 p.m.


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