Former US Gymnastics President Arrested for Covering up Larry Nassar's Sexual Assaults
Former gymnastics president Steve Penny was arrested Wednesday for covering up evidence about misconduct concerning Larry Nassar at a Texas training center.
He was indicted for ordering the destruction of or hiding of documents pertaining to Nassar’s sexual assault of young female gymnasts, including Simone Biles. The documents are still missing after being delivered to him in Indiana.
Nassar is already serving 40-125 years for assaults in Michigan and was indicted in June for assaults in Texas.
At the Senate hearing in June, Penny invoked the 5th amendment, though he did resign as CEO and President after 12 years in the role.
Lindsey Lemke called him a “coward,” saying he resigned without owning the culture of assault he allowed. Several gymnasts confirmed that Penny told them to be quiet about the allegations, some testified that he ordered six top officials not to discuss the case, and even the Karolyis, owners of the training facility, said that Penny urged them not to talk about it.
The US Gymnastics organization cut ties with the facility after the allegations surfaced.
Penny has also been accused of waiting more than five weeks to notify the FBI of the Nassar allegations.
Penny was detained and held by US Marshals in Sevier County Jail in Tennessee, and is awaiting extradition to Walker County, Texas. If convicted of the third-degree felony charge, Penny could face up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Leadership has been hard to retain as several replacements for Penny have resigned with only months, and more recently less than a week in the role.
Mary Bono, the newest CEO, resigned the day before Penny’s arrest, after backlash, started by Simone Biles regarding Bono’s tweet (on the first day of her job) about Nike, referring to Colin Kaepernick’s hiring.
“*Mouth drop* Don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter USA Gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything,” Biles tweeted.
Bono apologized and deleted her tweet. She resigned within the week.