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Steve Penny steps down as President of USA Gymnastics amidst allegations

Conversing+with+fellow+Olympians+and+politician+John+Kerry%2C+Steve+Penny%2C+pictured+middle+right%2C+enjoys+his+last+Summer+Olympics+in+Rio+de+Janeiro.+Penny+resigned+as+President+and+CEO+of+USA+Gymnastics+on+March+9.%0A
Conversing with fellow Olympians and politician John Kerry, Steve Penny, pictured middle right, enjoys his last Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Penny resigned as President and CEO of USA Gymnastics on March 9.

Conversing with fellow Olympians and politician John Kerry, Steve Penny, pictured middle right, enjoys his last Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Penny resigned as President and CEO of USA Gymnastics on March 9.

wikimedia.commons

wikimedia.commons

Conversing with fellow Olympians and politician John Kerry, Steve Penny, pictured middle right, enjoys his last Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Penny resigned as President and CEO of USA Gymnastics on March 9.

Emma McDonald, Staff Reporter

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 Steve Penny has been the CEO and President of USA Gymnastics for the past twelve years; until, that is, he resigned on March 9, only a week after the US Olympic Committee called for his removal. Sexual allegations have been circling the stage of USA Gymnastics for years now, eventually placing responsibility on Penny for doing little to nothing about it. The Indianapolis Star–an Indiana news source–has reported more than 360 cases of sexual transgressions over the past 20 years. Paul Parilla stepped in as interim head of USA Gymnastics following Penny’s departure. Parilla hopes that the new administration of the gym shares the same commitment as the US Olympic Committee to promote a safe environment for their athletes. Penny also did not apologize or admit any wrongdoing following his leave.

 Larry Nassar was the physician for USA Gymnastics up until his firing back in July 2015. Nassar now faces three state charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 13, as well as fourteen alternative charges of third-degree sexual assault over the course of his twenty years at Michigan State. Nassar, who took on the role of team physician back in ‘96, has received sexual abuse allegations by more than eighty gymnasts; Michigan State is now being sued by at least forty women and girls. Sophomore Luke Cooper said, “It’s crazy how sexual harassment can occur within an Olympic team. Being an athlete myself, I would want a safe environment to continue my skills and career.” Though Nassar’s removal dropped the rate of sexual conduct within USA Gymnastics, internal problems continue to linger throughout its walls.

 A continuous problem within USA Gymnastics is how the gym goes about filing reports. The gym’s officials conduct their own investigation prior to filing a report to the authorities–if one is even filed at all. As a result, on March 6 of last year, US Senators proposed a legislation that would make it a federal crime to not immediately report sexual abuse allegations to authorities.

 John Manly is a California sexual abuse lawyer currently representing more than seventy women who claim sexual abuse/assault against Nassar. On the day of Penny’s resignation, Manly called the US Olympic Committee for the decertification of USA Gymnastics as the governing body for gymnastics in the US. Removing Penny from his position also allows USA Gymnastics to address the numerous lawsuits and charges it faces with the proper administration; according to The New York Daily News, 5,600 pages of USA Gymnastics documents were released by a Georgia judge. Such documents revealed that the gym had neglected to remove coaches even though they had been convicted of scxual crimes against children. With new administration determined to tackle the gym’s problem of sexual abuse, the USOC hopes to see a light shine back on USA Gymnastics.

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Steve Penny steps down as President of USA Gymnastics amidst allegations