Former U.S. women’s gymnastics national team coordinators Martha and Bela Karolyi quietly filed a lawsuit last month against USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee, saying the couple didn’t know about Larry Nassar’s “reprehensible conduct” and would have reported it if there had been any suspicions about him.
Star U.S. gymnasts, among more than 100 who said they were sexually abused by the convicted Nassar, said they were abused at the Karolyi’s ranch in Texas during national-team training camps.
The Karolyis seek more than $1 million in damages in the lawsuit, first reported by the Houston Chronicle.
“Any child who was violated by Nassar, it’s a crime and it’s so sad,” Martha Karolyi told Savannah Guthrie for a “Dateline” special that aired on NBC last week (full episode here).
How could the Karolyis not have known about the alleged abuses committed at their property?
“I heard during the testimonies that some of the parents were in therapy room with their own child and Larry Nassar was performing this — and the parent couldn’t see. How I could see?” Martha Karolyi said.
“The whole thing is just like an explosion, a bomb exploding, boom,” Bela Karolyi said.
Martha Karolyi led the national team for 15 years before retiring after the Rio Olympics. She told Guthrie that in “no way” did she suspect Nassar was sexually abusing athletes.
The Karolyis have been named as co-defendants in several civil lawsuits filed against Nassar and USA Gymnastics.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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