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Olympic gymnasts report that US Senators flourished Nassar's abuse in sports culture



When US senators on Wednesday asked Jordyn Wieber, Jamie Dantzscher and other former top athletes if they thought that sexual abuse still occurred in their respective sports, they had no doubt that this was the case.

"I know for sure that things will continue," said Dantzscher, an Olympic champion and a victim of former Larry Nassar at Michigan State University.

She told senators that the current elite gymnastics culture was for it, describing situations in which Nassar would touch her in the middle of a crowded gym all over her body.

"Everyone was there – nobody thought of it," she said.

Wieber, gold medalist and member of the US Fierce Five team at the Olypmics 201

2, and Dantezscher, bronze medal winner at the 2000 Olympics in Syndey, have before the Subcommittee of the United States Senate on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security Wednesday in Washington, DC

They were joined by speed skater Bridie Farrel and figure skater Craig Maurizi, both of whom said they were being abused by a mentor or coach while they competed in their sport.

The hearing, led by US Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, is the first in their ongoing investigation into how Nassar could abuse women and girls across international borders for decades across state borders Despite several reports to Michigan State University officials and USA gymnastics.

You have expanded the investigation to include the policies and procedures of other national government agencies and their handling of reporting and handling of allegations of abuse.

A second hearing from representatives of Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee is expected to take place on May 22nd.

At the hearing on Wednesday, both Wieber and Dantzscher told stories to the deputies they had previously shared the courtroom during Nassar's conviction of sexual assault charges in January

Dantzscher had told her story a long time ago – she filed a lawsuit and spoke in September 2016 with the Indianapolis Star about Nassar's abuse. She told senators that they commented on Nassar's serious consequences, as his followers embarrassed her and rallied around her culprit.

"Almost immediately after filing (the lawsuit) I was bullied on social media," she said. "I had done nothing wrong except to tell the truth … her answer was to accuse the victim."

Dantzscher said she was abused in Texas, California and during gymnastics competitions across the country. She said she was abused at the Olympics in a hotel room in Sydney and said that if there was a policy prohibiting adults from being alone in a hotel room with children, it was not enforced.

Wieber said she was a victim of Nassar was harder than training for the Olympics and said it was initially hard for her to believe that a doctor she'd seen from eight to 18 years abused her ,

The age of the athletes, stressful training regimes, and coaches that motivated athletes through fear made USA Gymnastics the "perfect place for a robber like Larry Nassar to thrive, and he did," said Wieber.

"If I question his treatment, I would risk my chance to compete for the Olympic team," she said.

The athletes also had harsh words for Michigan State University officials who, they said, did not fulfill their due diligence obligations to protect Nassar's patients both at school and across the country.

Michigan US Sen. Gary Peters asked the athletes for their assessment of how MSU handled the situation and what they would ask MSU officials if they had the opportunity to talk to them.

Following the recent claims of Nassar victim Kaylee Lorincz that Engler had offered her an agreement in a private meeting, Wieber said the university had handled it "very badly".

"They still refuse to admit what the problem really is and that they are responsible – that's what's missing," she said. Regarding Engler's performance, she said, "He's almost trying to fight the survivors instead of working with us." Her question to MSU: "Why is the reputation of the university and the money more important than the lives of hundreds of people – girls and women who were abused under their responsibility?"

Maurizi's question to the MSU officials was based on his observation That many people in the figure skating community probably knew more than their perpetrators.

"How are you? Living with you?" He said he would ask. "How can you sleep at night?"

Moran said his goal was to find the right way to demand reports of sexual abuse offenses and appropriate consequences for the crimes.

For the moment he said, "We have reports, but no consequences."

"They are all tremendously talented and successful athletes who have made their country proud, but have been taken for granted by the organizations you represent," Moran said. "They were disappointed by people you trusted, but who ignored you, looked away or deliberately covered up the abuses because their priority, in simple terms, was not your safety or your well-being." [196592002] Blumenthal said athletes who got up with their stories to stop future sexual abuse in sports "bring courage and sacrifice to the words a new meaning."

Olympian Jordyn Wieber, Jamie Dantzscher at Nassar-inspired US Senate hearing [19659002] Before he exposed his systemic sexual abuse, Nassar was a successful sports physician at Michigan State University, known nationwide for his work with elite gymnasts. He attended several Olympic Games as a United States Gymnastics Team Doctor and was a frequent presence at the Karolyi Ranch, a gym school in Texas

Nassar is currently in a 60-year federal prison for child pornography and was in Ingham County for 40-175 years 40-125 years in Eaton County for criminal prosecution for sexual behavior.

The Senate Subcommittee's investigation is one of several ongoing federal investigations inspired by the Nassar case.

The US Home Inspectorate and Government Reform Committee opened an investigation into Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and other institutions affiliated with former MSU physician Larry Nassar in February, and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters in January the USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee, Michigan State University, USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo regarding sexual abuse in organized sports.

One of the first legislative measures to come out of Congress after Nassar's condemnation was a law whereby adults working with amateur athletes under government bodies such as USA immediately report any allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse to law enforcement Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sponsored legislation is working to address several issues raised by victims during the Nasar conviction – it extends the statute of limitations for victims who sued sex offenders for up to 10 years after the discovery of sex offenses and demands of the senior sex offenders Institutions to set up procedures to limit the interactions between minors and adults.

The legislation also calls for the US Center for Safe Sport, created last year by the US Olympic Committee, to develop new training and supervision to prevent abuse.

Peters, Michigan US Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, have also recently introduced legislation requiring university presidents to review complaints of sexual abuse under Title IX involving school workers.


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