USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry said in a statement for a Wednesday congressional hearing on sexual abuse in the U.S. Olympic community that her organization is “on a new path, with new leadership, and a commitment to ensure this never happens again.”
Perry is expected to read the statement at the hearing (streaming here at 10 a.m. ET) and take questions from congressional subcommittee members.
Perry came from outside USA Gymnastics when she replaced Steve Penny as the national governing body’s president in December after Penny resigned amid the Larry Nassar scandal.
More than 300 women and girls have said they were sexually abused by Nassar, a former U.S. national team and Michigan State sports doctor. Michigan State said last Wednesday it reached a $500 million settlement with 332 survivors.
“My singular goal — and the reason I accepted this mission — is to create a supportive and empowering culture that helps our athletes achieve their gymnastics dreams in a safe environment,” Perry said in her statement. “We will hold our organization to the highest standards of care, and I am committed to making bold decisions in order to become the standard-bearer for change.”
Perry confirmed that USA Gymnastics is mediating with athletes to resolve their claims.
She also said in a Monday press release that Annie Heffernon had replaced Rhonda Faehn as interim vice president in charge of the women’s program. Heffernon was first hired by USA Gymnastics in 2013 as the women’s Junior Olympic program director.
Last week, Perry said that Faehn, head of the U.S. women’s program since 2015, was no longer with USA Gymnastics. National team gymnasts said on social media that Faehn was being forced out by Perry.
Perry told Faehn, a senior vice president, only that USA Gymnastics needed to “move forward” from the Nassar scandal, according to NBC News, citing two sources with knowledge of the conversation that took place during a national-team camp in Tennessee.
In summer 2015, a coach overheard U.S. gymnasts Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols discussing Nassar’s pelvic treatments as national team doctor. The coach reported it to Faehn, who reported it to Penny, according to NBC News.
USA Gymnastics has been criticized for not immediately calling police. Though Nassar stopped working with national-team gymnasts, it would be another year before he was fired from Michigan State, where he also sexually abused athletes.
Raisman called for Faehn to step down two weeks ago, according to the Indianapolis Star.
Acting U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Susanne Lyons, USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey, USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis and USA Taekwondo executive director Steve McNally are also confirmed to testify at Wednesday’s hearing with Perry. Those four sports are among those within the U.S. Olympic community that have had sexual-abuse scandals, detailed by the congressional subcommittee here.
Shellie Pfohl, the CEO for the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which handles cases of sexual misconduct in the Olympic and Paralympic community, is also scheduled to testify.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nzaccardi