USA gymnastics president resigns amid abuse scandal - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

USA gymnastics president resigns amid abuse scandal

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Former US poet laureate Donald Hall dies in New Hampshire

    Former US poet laureate Donald Hall dies in New Hampshire

    Sunday, June 24 2018 12:44 PM EDT2018-06-24 16:44:30 GMT
    The daughter of former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall says he has died at age 8 at his home in Wilmot, New Hampshire.More >>
    The daughter of former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall says he has died at age 8 at his home in Wilmot, New Hampshire.More >>
  • Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award

    Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award

    Sunday, June 24 2018 12:44 PM EDT2018-06-24 16:44:14 GMT
    A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns about the way the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks...More >>
    A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns about the way the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.More >>
  • Authorities investigating fatal Minneapolis police shooting

    Authorities investigating fatal Minneapolis police shooting

    Sunday, June 24 2018 12:40 PM EDT2018-06-24 16:40:27 GMT
    (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP). A crowd gathers near the scene of an officer-involved shooting which took place a few hours earlier Saturday, June 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. Police in Minneapolis say officers shot and killed a man who was firing a...(Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP). A crowd gathers near the scene of an officer-involved shooting which took place a few hours earlier Saturday, June 23, 2018, in Minneapolis. Police in Minneapolis say officers shot and killed a man who was firing a...
    Authorities are investigating after Minneapolis police on Saturday shot and killed a man following reports he was firing a handgun as he walked outside.More >>
    Authorities are investigating after Minneapolis police on Saturday shot and killed a man following reports he was firing a handgun as he walked outside.More >>

By WILL GRAVES and EDDIE PELLS
AP Sports Writers

Steve Penny resigned as president of USA Gymnastics on Thursday following intensified pressure on the organization for its handling of sex abuse cases.

The resignation came a week after the United States Olympic Committee's board recommended to USA Gymnastics chairman Paul Parilla that Penny should step down. Penny offered his resignation during a previously scheduled board meeting on Thursday.

"My decision to step aside as CEO is solely to support the best interests of USA Gymnastics at this time," Penny said in a statement.

USOC chairman Larry Probst said Penny's decision "will hopefully allow USA Gymnastics to shift its attention to the future with a secure environment for its athletes and continued success in competition."

Penny joined USA Gymnastics in 1999 and was named the organization's president in 2005, overseeing one of the greatest runs in Olympic history. Led by national team coordinator Martha Karolyi, the women's program has become a dominant force, producing each of the last four Olympic all-around champions and team golds in 2012 and 2016. The success turned gymnasts like Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson into stars and made USA Gymnastics a magnet for big-time corporate sponsors who wanted to be aligned with its healthy, winning image.

That image took a serious hit in recent months following an investigation by the Indianapolis Star that portrayed USA Gymnastics as slow to act when it came to addressing allegations of sexual abuse by a team doctor and coaches at member gyms across the country.

"The Board believes this change in leadership will help USA Gymnastics face its current challenges and implement solutions to move the organization forward in promoting a safe environment for its athletes at all levels," Parilla said in a statement.

Last fall, Jamie Dantzscher, a member of the 2000 Olympic team, a href='https://www.apnews.com/0c2c815aa329494ea687d11db4c4653d/'Monster'-ex-USA-Gymnastics-doctor-charged-with-sex-assault'filed a civil lawsuit/a in California against USA Gymnastics and former team doctor Larry Nassar.

The lawsuit claims Nassar - who worked for the organization on a volunteer basis for nearly 30 years before being dismissed in the summer of 2015 - sexually groped and fondled the gymnasts as teenagers. Subsequent lawsuits have followed, including some that name Penny, Karolyi and her husband Bela as co-defendants because they "had knowledge of inappropriate conduct and molestations committed by (Nassar) before and during his employment, yet chose to allow him to remain unsupervised where he sexually abused plaintiff."

John Manly, the attorney representing Dantzscher and scores of others who have filed suits against Penny, USA Gymnastics and others said his clients "welcome" Penny's resignation but see his decision as simply "the end of the beginning."

Martha Karolyi retired last August and sold the training gyms at the Karolyi Ranch north of Houston to USA Gymnastics.

Nassar was fired by USA Gymnastics after Penny heard of an athlete's concerns about Nassar's conduct and went to federal authorities. The organization initially claimed it notified the authorities immediately but amended its timeline last month, indicating it conducted its own investigation during a five-week span before reporting Nassar to the FBI. Nassar is in prison in Michigan, where he worked for decades at Michigan State University before being fired last fall. He faces charges in both the state and federal system.

USA Gymnastics hired a former federal prosecutor last fall to conduct an extensive review of the organization's policies in regards to potential sexual misconduct. The report by Deborah J. Daniels is expected sometime in the spring or early summer.

The gregarious Penny - whose booming voice and penchant for wearing eye-catching shoes during big events made him stand out in a sea of gymnasts - has denied any wrongdoing and the USA Gymnastics board of directors had remained supportive throughout the firestorm.

That didn't stop the USOC from sending recommendations to USA Gymnastics last week. While the USOC does not have official authority to remove heads of national governing bodies, it can apply pressure by threatening to withhold funding. The USOC gives USA Gymnastics a cash grant of nearly $2 million annually.

Pressure also has been building within the gymnastics community. International Gymnastics Camp, a summer camp located in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, announced last week it was pulling its sponsorship of the organization. "USA Gymnastics must become the leading governing body in child safety considerations including National Team programs and club programs alike," camp director Brent Klaus wrote in an open letter on the camp's web site.

Penny's departure is not enough for some of the women who have filed suit against Nassar and the organization. Attorney John Manly, who is representing more than 70 women currently suing Nassar and USA Gymnastics, issued a letter to USOC chairman Larry Probst this weekend asking the USOC to de-certify USA Gymnastics.

The letter pointed to the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act, a federal law that guarantees athletes the right to compete without discrimination. The letter pointed to misconduct by coaches as proof that USA Gymnastics "maternally inhibits these women's ability to participate in their sport."

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More NewsMore>>

  • Local leaders push for federal funding, support in Washington D.C.

    Local leaders push for federal funding, support in Washington D.C.

    Sunday, June 24 2018 12:28 PM EDT2018-06-24 16:28:36 GMT

    Local leaders meet with state and federal lawmakers to push for more federal funding and jobs. The focus of their conversations last week centered around the future of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Camp Ravenna and the Mahoning River.   Guy Coviello, vice president of government affairs at the chamber and Brad Ehrhart, president of the Portage Development Board joined WFMJ Weekend Today's Press Pass to talk about the conversations they had with state representatives and U....

    More >>

    Local leaders meet with state and federal lawmakers to push for more federal funding and jobs. The focus of their conversations last week centered around the future of the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Camp Ravenna and the Mahoning River.   Guy Coviello, vice president of government affairs at the chamber and Brad Ehrhart, president of the Portage Development Board joined WFMJ Weekend Today's Press Pass to talk about the conversations they had with state representatives and U....

    More >>
  • Mentor Police Officer killed by hit-and-run

    Mentor Police Officer killed by hit-and-run

    Sunday, June 24 2018 12:21 PM EDT2018-06-24 16:21:41 GMT

    A Mentor Police officer was killed by a hit and run driver early Sunday morning. The Mercer Police Departments Facebook page reports that they are seeking assistance in the location of the suspect's vehicle. The officer, whose identity has not yet been released, was struck by the driver around 1:00 a.m., while he was assisting in a traffic stop on State Route 2 Eastbound, according to the information on the Departments Facebook. Reports state that he was taken to TriPoint Medical C...

    More >>

    A Mentor Police officer was killed by a hit and run driver early Sunday morning. The Mercer Police Departments Facebook page reports that they are seeking assistance in the location of the suspect's vehicle. The officer, whose identity has not yet been released, was struck by the driver around 1:00 a.m., while he was assisting in a traffic stop on State Route 2 Eastbound, according to the information on the Departments Facebook. Reports state that he was taken to TriPoint Medical C...

    More >>
  • Weekend warriors unite in Steel Valley Flag Football Association

    Weekend warriors unite in Steel Valley Flag Football Association

    Sunday, June 24 2018 11:00 AM EDT2018-06-24 15:00:29 GMT

    Sundays are made for football, even this time of year. Every week, if you head over to Oakland Field in Youngstown you can get your fix with the Steel Valley Flag Football Association. 

    More >>

    Sundays are made for football, even this time of year. Every week, if you head over to Oakland Field in Youngstown you can get your fix with the Steel Valley Flag Football Association. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms