USA Gymnastics’ Board of Directors executive leadership, including Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley, have resigned, effective on Sunday, January 21, according to the USA Gymnastics website. The news comes amid former team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse scandal.
“USA Gymnastics thanks Paul Parilla, Jay Binder and Bitsy Kelley for their many years of service to this organization. We support their decisions to resign at this time. We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization,” Kerry Perry, President and CEO of USA Gymnastics, said in statement on Monday, January 22. “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 website added that the Board of Directors “will identify an interim chairperson until a permanent selection is named” and shared USA Gymnastics’ commitment to athlete safety.
As previously reported, Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting 10 girls and possessing child pornography, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison on December 7. More than 130 women and girls — including fellow Olympic gold medalists McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber — have accused him of inappropriate or abusive sexual behavior. More than 100 women, including Raisman and Wieber, have given statements about Nassar’s alleged abuse over the course of his five-day-hearing.
“Larry, you do realize now that we, this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time, are now a force and you are nothing,” Raisman, 23, said during Nassar’s sentencing in the Michigan court. “The tables have turned, Larry. We are here, we have our voices and we are not going anywhere.”
She continued: “You are so sick, I can’t even comprehend what I feel when I think of you. You lied to me and manipulated me to think that when you treated me, you were closing your eyes because you had been working hard when you were really touching me, an innocent child, to pleasure yourself.”
The attorney of Nassar’s alleged victims released a statement regarding the board’s resignations.
“The resignation of USA Gymnastics’ Chairman, Paul Parilla and his Executive Board is welcomed by more than 110 survivors we represent and many others,” John Manly said in statement on Monday. “In speaking with some of our clients this morning, all of them wondered whether USAG will change the position they have taken in court that USAG had no duty to warn its member gymnasts even though they knew Larry Nassar was a molester. Until that happens, this move is simply a public relations ploy to save a sinking ship of an organization. On behalf of our clients and all Nassar survivors we also call on United States Congress to immediately schedule hearings and investigate the United States Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University in connection with the Larry Nassar scandal.”
The statement continues, “Many of the Board Members who remain were well aware of USAG’s concealment of sexual abuse, its non-compliance with reporting statutes and harsh treatment of sexual abuse survivors. In order for the sport to survive, the entire Board and Officers of USAG needs to be reconstituted. If that does not happen the United States Olympic Committee should decertify the organization and charter a new organization run by people that will put the safety of children and athletes ahead of money and medals. It should not have more than 100 young women publicly bearing their souls about their sexual assault by Larry Nassar to finally get USAG to act. It’s important to note that 54 USAG Coaches have been credibly accused of sexually molesting little girls and boys in the last 20-years. Child molestation is a cancer in USAG and those responsible need to be completely ousted from the organization so there is nothing left of their influence.”
Nassar is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.
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