Aly Raisman Calls for More Transparency From USA Gymnastics - NBC Bay Area
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Aly Raisman Calls for More Transparency From USA Gymnastics

The Needham, Massachusetts, native has been a vocal critic of the athletic organization since disgraced former doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse investigation

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    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018)

    She’s been an Olympic gold medalist, a source of support for her fellow gymnasts and an outspoken voice following the conviction of a former USA Gymnastics doctor.

    Aly Raisman spoke with the "Today" show on Tuesday to call for transparency from USAG after a recent string of scandals.

    The 24-year-old Needham, Massachusetts, native tweeted last week about her distrust in the USA Gymnastics leadership. On Tuesday, she accused the organization of failing to protect its athletes and being more concerned with protecting now-imprisoned doctor Larry Nassar, who is serving up to 175 years for molesting women and girls under the guise of medical treatment while working for USAG and Michigan State University and possessing child pornography.

    "It's really hard for me to put into words," Raisman said. "I never imagined it would be this bad."

    Raisman is calling for a full independent investigation into USAG. The athletic organization has gone through three leaders in just one year and former president Steve Penny was arrested earlier this month for allegedly tampering with evidence in the sexual abuse investigation of Nassar.

    "Over the last years, there still has not been a full independent investigation by law enforcement, and that is just absolutely absurd," Raisman said. "Until we have that, it’s very clear this problem is very much bigger than Steve Penny, Larry Nassar and this new coach."

    The Olympian accused Penny of failing to protect the dozens of gymnasts who were abused by Nassar.

    "Well, the first thing he should have done when he was even the slightest bit suspicious of Larry Nassar is to go and report it to law enforcement, and he did not do that," Raisman said. "From the very beginning, his priority and USA Gymnastics’ priority was always to cover it up."

    Raisman dug deeper into the lack of trust she has for USAG and accused COO Ron Galimore of lying to staff about Nassar’s whereabouts in the beginning of the investigation.

    "He was the one that covered for Larry Nassar and told the medical staff and anyone who asked that he’s sick," she said. "So they were always more concerned with protecting our abuser than protecting us."

    Despite the USAG’s efforts to change its board members, Raisman believes the organization’s focus is on the wellbeing of their image rather than transparency.

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    "I'm feeling like with this new board, it's more important for them to protect and to fix this PR problem they have," she said. "They need to understand this is a child abuse problem."

    Raisman shared her hopes of working with a transparent USA Gymnastics in the future.

    "I hope that next time I'm on the 'Today' show, I am with the new organization that has released all their documents and data, that has told us everything that has happened," she said.

    In a previous statement, USA Gymnastics said the organization "support[s] law enforcement's efforts and have fully cooperated with the investigations by the Texas Rangers, Congress and others, and will continue do so to help the survivors and our community heal from this tragedy."