New USA Gymnastics president needs to clean house
It's every day now.
Every day someone new is being accused of sexual assault or harassment.
What is this culture we live in? What was a problem now seems to be an epidemic.
Politicians, actors, comedians, coaches, teachers, doctors. The list goes on and on.
The predators are everywhere. Women, girls, and in some cases young boys, are under siege.
While every case is sad and terrible in its own right, the case that some Olympic gymnasts are making against Larry Nassar is particularly troubling.
The women who are coming forward -- McKayla Maroney and two-time Olympic team captain Aly Raisman -- were young girls, barely teenagers, when they were allegedly abused by Nassar. Nassar was the trusted team doctor for USA Gymnastics, and these young girls trusted USA Gymnastics with their careers, and their young lives.
Now in jail, Nassar faces 33 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
USA Gymnastics, which exists on the backs of vulnerable young teens and preteens, must clean house -- with bleach and a stiff scrub brush.
Others likely need to go, too. Nassar was affiliated with USA Gymnastics for nearly 30 years. You can't tell me that no one else within that organization, not once in 30 years, recognized some kind of a problem with him and his relationships with the gymnasts.
I have a feeling more gymnasts will be coming forward with accusations against him, and perhaps others. The Indianapolis Star has reported that over the last 20 years, there have been 360 cases in which gymnasts have accused coaches of sexual misconduct.
It is also well-documented that famed USA Gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi, out of the loop now but once the most powerful figures in the sport, knew something was wrong and have been sued by a former national team gymnast because of it.
Meanwhile, the Karolyis have been accused of their own forms of abuse of gymnasts. In that same lawsuit, it was alleged that the Karolyis would physically abuse gymnasts, forbid them contact with their families, even deny them food and water.
Nassar allegedly used that abusive environment as an opening to offer comfort to the young gymnasts and gain their trust.
Many of these gymnasts, some still in grade school, were on their own, away from their parents and in the full care of USA Gymnastics.
These parents trusted USA Gymnastics with their children, hoping so desperately that their dreams of Olympic success would be realized. In a safe environment. They turned their daughters over to people they so desperately wanted to trust, and were probably convinced that they could trust.
Some Olympic "dream."
These gymnasts will be living with this nightmare for the rest of their lives.
Fortunately, the past two presidents of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny and Robert Colarossi, are no longer in the picture. They were accused of ignoring this madness.
Kerry Perry takes over next month. She has a lot of work to do, and doing further house-cleaning, executing a full investigation and ridding the organization of anyone else who even vaguely betrayed the trust of these vulnerable gymnasts and their families should be at the top of her list.
I hope she is successful. I want to continue being a fan.
I've always loved watching gymnastics at the Summer Olympics, marveling at how talented they are, particularly those from the United States, which has been collecting gold medals in gymnastics for years.
It's a wonder, and a disturbing one, that those sweet young girls were able to make USA Gymnastics such a powerhouse with all of this abuse and dysfunction behind the scenes.