Texas governor orders investigation of abuse claims at USA Gymnastics facility

Jan 31, 2018, 04:29
Texas governor orders investigation of abuse claims at USA Gymnastics facility

USA Gymnastics announced on January 18 that it had terminated its agreement to have the ranch outside of Huntsville serve as the National Training Center for the women's elite program.

Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas Rangers to launch an investigation into the sexual assault allegations at Karolyi Ranch in New Waverly.

Kerry Perry, USA Gymnastics president and CEO, said it was her intent to have the women's program leave the ranch when she began her tenure in December.

An Olympic gymnast previously said that ex-team doctor Larry Nassar treated and abused girls at the ranch for more than 15 years.

"There is an eerie feeling as soon as you step foot onto the Karolyi Ranch", Larson said during victim-impact statements at Nassar's sentencing hearing last week.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN. "The people of Texas demand, and the victims deserve, nothing less", said Abbott.

Abbott noted that the Walker County Sheriff's Office has already been investigating allegations of abuse at the ranch.

Last week, the Walker County Sheriff's Office confirmed to USA Today that it had opened an investigation into Karolyi Ranch but would not say what the inquiry was about or when it began. He said he was bringing the Rangers into the matter because the "criminal action has been implicated across multiple jurisdictions and states".

Read Governor Abbott's full letter calling for an investigation by the Texas Rangers.

Two weeks ago, Olympic gold medal-winner Simone Biles posted on Twitter, "It breaks my heart even more to think that as I work toward my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused".

Nassar's accusers have said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them and other inappropriate touching when they were seeking treatment for back, hip, leg, foot and other injuries.

Last week, a MI judge sentenced Nassar to up to 175 years in prison for multiple sexual assault convictions. Maggie Nichols, Jantzi's star gymnast who, at 14, made the US women's national team, was speaking with Aly Raisman, captain of the 2012 and 2016 gold-medal-winning Olympic teams.

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