This January, the entire country was stunned to watch and hear one young woman after another courageously step up to the microphone to detail their experiences of sexual abuse committed by Larry Nassar, and that they represented hundreds of other women around the country. As each told their story, I was struck by how many people failed to protect these young girls and how many red flags were blatantly ignored, all allowing Nassar to continue his abuse over decades.
These girls and women turned to the adults they should have been able to trust – coaches, school administrators, the police – and each time they were dismissed and ignored, their stories covered up. Each and every organization tasked with their protection made decisions to defend themselves and not the innocent girls whose safety should have been their priority. A system that chooses prestige, power, and gold medals above the health and safety of its athletes has a lot to answer for.
That is why, on January 25, I asked the Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, on which I am a senior member, to immediately begin investigating how this could have happened. Chairman Gowdy agreed, and I joined him, Ranking Member Elijah Cummings and other members of our Committee in calling upon the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, Twistars USA, and Karolyi Ranch to explain how Nassar’s crimes were allowed to occur and persist for decades. In light of recent reporting, I have also asked Chairman Gowdy to expand this investigation to include the FBI, NCAA and U.S. Department of Education.