(Washington, DC)— Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) called on U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun to step down in light of press reports that Blackmun was aware of sexual abuse allegations against ex-team USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar in 2015. This news comes a week after Blackmun published a letter to Team USA, pledging an independent investigation to uncover “who knew what and when,” failing to admit his own supposed direct knowledge of allegations that were brought to his attention in July 2015.
“While Larry Nassar will never be able to hurt another child, there are still many questions that remain about how he was able to commit these heinous crimes for so long,” said the Senators. “Reports detailing USOC leadership’s knowledge of abuse allegations against Nassar, which included Scott Blackmun, are deeply disturbing. If these reports are true, this goes far beyond negligence and raises serious questions of culpability at USOC, in which the most appropriate action would be for Scott Blackmun to resign. Just as Mr. Blackmun called on accountability from USA Gymnastics, so must he accept his share of responsibility. His inaction also further underscores the immediate need for a special committee in the Senate to complete a comprehensive investigation so that those at USOC and USA Gymnastics who were in positions of power and failed to intervene and protect American athletes, are held accountable.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, USOC officials – including Blackmun – were aware of abuse allegations against Nassar, as well as an internal investigation against the ex-Team USA doctor. Throughout the investigation, Nassar continued to see patients. USOC’s role in the Nassar sexual abuse scandal has raised questions about the culpability of those in power of the federally charted institution that is responsible for American athletes.
The Senators’ call for resignation follows a recent announcement that they will soon introduce a bipartisan resolution to establish a special committee to investigate the USOC and USA Gymnastics regarding how Larry Nassar was allowed to sexually abuse female gymnasts over decades.