on the Olympic scandal


Saly Seye

Wednesday, former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar received a sentence of 40 to 175 years in prison. This comes after a firestorm of sexual abuse allegations by more than 100 female athletes, claiming Nassar used the excuse of medical treatment to molest them.
In 1996, Nassar was named the national medical coordinator for the USA Gymnastics team. He graduated from university with a degree in osteopathic medicine, giving him license to practice in any medical specialty. Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual misconduct in November after multiple women came forward with their stories of assault.
Nassar is one of dozens of men accused of sexual misconduct, his victims including Simone Biles. Other notable figures currently facing these allegations include James Franco, Matt Lauer, and Aziz Ansari. His prosecution and sentencing, however, is an anomaly. Despite one estimate saying over 50 men have been accused, little legal action stands against them.
“At first I didn’t think it was really true. But when the Olympic and NCAA college gymnasts started saying how they were abused, I thought it was obscure to how USA gymnasts let [the abuse] happen,” sophomore Mikayla Morgensen said.
Huffington Post article by Katherine Star explains why the gymnasts would feel compelled not to report the abuses. She writes, “A competing athlete is more at risk… the athlete is more engaged in a relationship of abuse. When speaking up about the abuse the athlete has to make a decision of his or her team.”
For the judge presiding over his case, sentencing Nassar signified a victory for victims of sexual abuse. Multiple sources quote her as saying, “I just signed your death warrant.” Freshman Ian Hendrickson agrees with the judge’s message.
“They’re actually getting something done, I guess. If he [abused] women and went to court and got prosecuted for 100 plus years and doesn’t get parole, that’s a lot. I guess it’s appropriate,” Hendrickson said.