USA Gymnastics Championship in Milwaukee amid sexual abuse scandal

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 10:42:21-04

The best acrobatic, rhythmic and trampoline gymnasts from all over the country are in Milwaukee to compete for the gold in the USA Gymnastics Championship.

But the sport known for its grace is now dealing with a growing sexual abuse scandal.  USA Gymnastics' newly released internal investigation report shows they failed to protect athletes from alleged sexual abuse.

"We felt terrible that anybody who participates in our sport has been abused and or mistreated," said USA Gymnastics Chairman Paul Parilla.

A former national team physician faces civil lawsuits, state and federal charges of sexual abuse. Dr. Larry Nassar is accused of sexually violating more than 80 girls. Nassar maintains his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Meanwhile, the report shows USA Gymnastics coaches suspended for sexual abuse were able to get new coaching jobs. Parilla told TODAY’S TMJ4 he does not know of any coaches participating in the USA Gymnastics Championship who have faced sexual misconduct allegations in the past.

Parilla says the investigation’s findings call for a complete cultural change in the sport.

"We are going to establish a database," Parilla said referring to coaches at more than 3,500 affiliated gyms across the country.
Parilla said U.S.A. Gymnastics has adopted 70 recommended changes, including stricter requirements for coaches and periodic audits of affiliated clubs.

During Wednesday’s media event, TODAY’S TMJ4 was not allowed to talk to any athletes or coaches about the sexual abuse allegations.

The event starts Thursday, June 29 through July 1.