USA Gym­nas­tics files for bank­ruptcy after scan­dal

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Kate Feld­man

Still strug­gling to move past the Larry Nas­sar scan­dal and fac­ing al­most 100 law­suits from his vic­tims, USA Gym­nas­tics filed for bank­ruptcy in a move that its chair­man says will speed up pay­outs to the ath­letes.

“We owe it to the sur­vivors to re­solve, fully and fi­nally, claims based on the hor­rific acts of the past and, through this process, seek to ex­pe­dite res­o­lu­tion and help them move for­ward,” Kathryn Car­son, the re­cently elected chair of the USA Gym­nas­tics Board of Di­rec­tors, said in a state­ment.

“Our sport is safer and stronger thanks to the brav­ery of these women. The Chap­ter 11 fil­ing and the ex­pe­dited res­o­lu­tion of these claims are crit­i­cal first steps in re­build­ing the com­mu­nity’s trust.”

USAG said that in­surance cov­ers the “sur­vivors’ claims” but that the or­ga­ni­za­tion has “no other sig­nif­i­cant as­sets” with which to fund other ex­penses.

“All of us have the same goal of mak­ing mean­ing­ful changes for the ben­e­fit of our ath­letes and all mem­bers,” Car­son said.

“While con­sid­er­able change has been made, sub­stan­tial work still re­mains. We will con­tinue to pri­or­i­tize ath­letes’ safety and well-be­ing and act­ing in the best in­ter­ests of the greater gym­nas­tics com­mu­nity.”

The Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy also staves off — for the time be­ing — the U.S. Olympic Com­mit­tee’s ef­forts to re­voke USAG’s sta­tus as the sport’s of­fi­cial gov­ern­ing body, a plan an­nounced last month.

“In the short-term, we have to work to en­sure that USAG gym­nasts have the sup­port nec­es­sary to ex­cel on and off the field of play,” CEO Sarah Hir­sh­land said in a state­ment in early No­vem­ber.

“We are build­ing plans to do just that. In the long-term, it will be the crit­i­cally im­por­tant re­spon­si­bil­ity of the rec­og­nized Gym­nas­tics NGB, whether the ex­ist­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion or a new one, to lead gym­nas­tics in the United States and build on the sup­port­ive com­mu­nity of ath­letes and clubs that can carry the sport for­ward for decades to come.”

Nas­sar was sen­tenced up to 125 years in prison in Jan­uary after plead­ing guilty to mo­lest­ing 10 girls. More than 100 other gym­nasts ac­cused him of sex­ual as­sault span­ning decades.

Pres­i­dent Kerry Perry re­signed as part of the scan­dal and in­terim pres­i­dent Mary Bono re­signed after only a week­end fol­low­ing back­lash over a con­tro­ver­sial tweet about Colin Kaeper­nick and Nike.

Steve Penny, the for­mer head of USA Gym­nas­tics, was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber after al­legedly re­mov­ing doc­u­ments linked to Nas­sar’s case from the Karolyi Ranch gym­nas­tics train­ing fa­cil­ity in Texas.

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