The United States Olympic Committee has been cagey about when exactly their officials first heard that Larry Nassar had been sexual abusing gymnasts. After initially claiming that they first learned that Nassar was the doctor accused of abuse when the Indianapolis Star first broke the story in Sept. 2016, the USOC later insisted that they learned of allegations against him in the summer of 2015 and “followed proper procedures.” But according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, USOC officials were first warned about Nassar’s behavior in July of 2015 and then failed to investigate him or speak to athletes until the Star story. This allowed Nassar to see and potentially abuse patients for over a year.
The USOC has been acutely critical of USA Gymnastics’ handling of the Nassar case, calling on the entire USAG board to resign and threatening to decertify them for their inaction. However, the Journal reports that USAG then-president Steve Penny called USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun to ask for investigative guidance after an internal investigator had discovered that “a team doctor” had potentially been sexually abusing patients. Blackmun seems to have done nothing.
Mr. Blackmun told Mr. Penny to “do what he had to do,” the person familiar with the call said. Mr. Blackmun provided no further guidance to USA Gymnastics on the matter in the months to come.
That September, Penny once again contacted the USOC, emailing chief security officer Larry Buendorf with detailed claims of sexual abuse from three gymnasts. This was supposedly the earliest time Nassar’s name had been mentioned to the USOC. While Michigan State and USAG have drawn considerable heat over their mishandling of allegations against Nassar, the USOC has largely stayed clean, save for accusations made by McKayla Maroney. Neither Buendorf nor Blackmun spoke to the Journal for the story, though USOC gave a short statement reiterating their desire to launch an internal investigation.