(After this essay was submitted to THCB the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on March 28th titled, “Protecting Young Athletes From Sexual Abuse.” USA Gymnastics refused to appear and provide testimony likely, in part, because USA Gymnastics’ President, Steve Penny, was forced to resign on March 16th. The issue was framed by Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley as a “heinous crime,” no health care or public health expert testified and the hearing and was reported in sports pages of the The New York Times and The Washington Post.)
If you do not read the sports page you may have missed the news that this past November, December and February Dr. Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician, was charged with numerous counts of criminal sexual misconduct and for possessing 37,000 child pornography images and videos of him sexually molesting girls. Beyond these charges, there are at present another 80 and counting related police complaints and several related civil lawsuits filed against Nassar. 1 Before he retired in September 2015, Nassar served on the USA Gymnastics National Team’s medical staff for 29 years and before he was fired last October, he also worked as a physician at Michigan State where for two decades he treated, among others, members of the university’s women’s basketball, crew, field hockey, figure skating, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and track and field teams. Dr. Nassar was also associated with a Lansing-area girls’ gymnastic club and a high school.