A look at the fallout from sports doctor scandal
Numerous people have been fired or forced out of jobs in the wake of the widening scandal involving once-renowned gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who has been ordered to serve decades in prison for molesting some of the sport’s top athletes and others as well as child pornography crimes.
Nassar worked for both Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body. The school and organization are being sued by dozens of women.
The latest departure was Scott Blackmun, CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, who resigned Wednesday.
As outside investigations continue, more people could lose jobs at the university and elsewhere. Here’s a look at some of the individuals or organizations that have been ousted, opted to quit, taken leaves or had ties cut:
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
— Lou Anna Simon: The president and school alumna resigned hours after Nassar’s Jan. 24 sentencing amid growing pressure from students, lawmakers and some members of the university’s governing board. She acknowledged being “the focus of this anger” but has denied any cover-up by the university. The university’s governing board hired former Michigan Gov. John Engler as its interim president.
— Mark Hollis: The athletic director, also an MSU alumnus, called his departure announced Jan. 26 a retirement, but he, too, had faced pressure to leave. He had been on the job for 10 years. He said he made the choice because of “the scope of everything,” adding that he hopes it helps the “healing process.”
— Kathie Klages: The former gymnastics coach resigned last year after she was suspended for defending Nassar over the years. Klages is accused of downplaying complaints made by two teens in 1997.
— Brooke Lemmen: The former school doctor resigned last year after learning the university was considering firing her because she didn’t disclose that USA Gymnastics was investigating Nassar.
— William Strampel: The former dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, who has been named in lawsuits, announced in December that he was taking a leave of absence for medical reasons. University officials said then he would no longer be dean but remains a faculty member. The school announced Friday that it plans to fire Strampel and that it suspended Suresh Mukherji, the chairman of the college’s Department of Radiology and chief medical officer of the MSU HealthTeam.
— Bob Noto: The university in February announced the departure of its longtime vice president for legal affairs. The school called it a retirement, which was to be effective March 5. He had been MSU’s general counsel since 1995. Trustee Brian Mosallam had sought Noto’s resignation.
— Valeri Liukin: The coordinator of the women’s national team for USA Gymnastics announced in early February that he stepped down, less than 18 months after taking over for Martha Karolyi in September 2016. Liukin said in a statement that while he wanted to help turn the program around, “the present climate causes me, and more importantly my family, far too much stress, difficulty and uncertainty.”
— USA Gymnastics confirmed Jan. 26 its entire board of directors would resign as requested by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The USOC had threatened to decertify the gymnastics organization, which besides picking U.S. national teams is the umbrella organization for hundreds of clubs across the country. Three top board members stepped down last month, but the USOC said a wholesale change was needed.
— Steve Penny: The former president and CEO resigned under pressure last March and replaced by Kerry Perry, who took over in December.
TWISTARS GYMNASTICS CLUB
— John Geddert: The owner of the Michigan club was suspended last month by USA Gymnastics and announced his retirement. He was the U.S. women’s coach at the 2012 Olympics. Nassar was sentenced Monday to a third prison term of 40 to 125 years for molesting young athletes at the elite training center. Geddert has said he had “zero knowledge” of Nassar’s crimes.
— USA Gymnastics said last month that the ranch outside Huntsville, Texas, would no longer serve as the national training center where a number of gymnasts said Nassar abused them.
U.S. OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
— Scott Blackmun: The CEO resigned Wednesday, citing difficulties with prostate cancer and the federation’s need to urgently move forward to deal with the sex abuse scandal. He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this winter. Blackmun leaves amid calls for his departure, including from two U.S. senators who said neither he nor the USOC at large reacted properly to sex abuse cases involving Nassar. The USOC is conducting an independent review of when Blackmun and others learned the details about abuse cases at USA Gymnastics and whether they responded appropriately.