House Oversight Committee opens probe into sexual abuse of gymnasts

House Oversight Committee opens probe into sexual abuse of gymnasts
© Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee announced Thursday that it is opening an investigation into sexual abuse of young female gymnasts following the sentencing of former doctor Larry Nassar.

Nassar has been sentenced to up to more than a century in prison for serially sexually abusing young gymnasts who sought treatment for their sports injuries.

A total of 156 women testified about his abuse at his sentencing hearing last month, as well as another 60 women at another sentencing hearing last week.

ADVERTISEMENT

Oversight Committee leaders are asking entities involved, including the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, for documentation of how they handled complaints against Nassar.

“To ensure this never happens again, the Committee is seeking to understand what failed within our Olympic and collegiate systems, and why,” a letter from Oversight Committee members to USA Gymnastics President Kerry Perry reads.

“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.”

Oversight Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyCNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate The Hill's Morning Report — Arrest of Giuliani associates triggers many questions Trump says Gowdy can't join his legal team 'for a couple months' MORE (R-S.C.), ranking Democrat Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE (Md.) and Reps. Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann Foxx58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill The GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House When disaster relief hurts MORE (R-N.C.), Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyOn The Money: Tax, loan documents for Trump properties reportedly showed inconsistencies | Tensions flare as Dems hammer Trump consumer chief | Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles Commerce Department to develop stats on income inequality Tensions flare as Democrats urge consumer bureau to boost penalties MORE (D-N.Y.) and Steve RussellSteven (Steve) Dane RussellThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 5 themes to watch for in 2020 fight for House Oklahoma New Members 2019 MORE (R-Okla.) are leading the probe.

Since Nassar's sentencing, lawmakers of both parties have called on Congress to investigate how Nassar’s abuse went unabated for years.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee late last month began investigating sexual abuse in organized sports beyond gymnastics, including USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo.

Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenUS envoy insists Syria pullout doesn't affect Iran strategy GOP senators say Erdoğan White House invitation should be revoked Overnight Energy: Advisory panel pushes park service to privatize campgrounds | Dems urge Perry to keep lightbulb efficiency rules | Marshall Islands declares national climate crisis MORE (D-N.H.) and Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstFarmers: New Trump ethanol proposal reneged on previous deal Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate Liberal group to target Ernst over Social Security 'behind closed doors' comments MORE (R-Iowa) introduced a resolution on Wednesday that would establish a special committee to investigate how the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics responded to the allegations against Nassar.

The Oversight Committee’s announcement comes a week after Congress sent legislation to President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE’s desk that requires athletic organizations to swiftly report sexual abuse and establish preventative policies.

The bill requires reporting of sexual abuse allegations to law enforcement within 24 hours. It also directs athletic organizations to establish “reasonable procedures” to limit one-on-one interactions between athletes who are minors and adults who aren’t their legal guardians.

Trump has not yet signed the measure into law.