The House Energy and Commerce Committee has begun an investigation of sexual abuse in organized sports.
Committee leaders from both political parties have sent letters to the U.S. Olympic Committee, Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics seeking information about how they handled sexual abuse allegations against disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar. The letters follow the sentencing of Nassar for molesting women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.
Nassar worked for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. The committee’s investigation comes as Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced his retirement Friday. He’s the second university official to step down this week. At USA Gymnastics, three top members of the board of directors resigned this month. Hollis has been in the job for 10 years.
The House committee’s letter to USA Gymnastics says the Nassar allegations “raise serious concerns about your organization’s ability to oversee your sport and protect your athletes from abuse and mistreatment.”
The committee also sent letters to USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo seeking information about how those organizations handled allegations of sexual misconduct.
Late Wednesday, Michigan State University president Lou Ann Simon said she would resign in the wake of Nassar’s trial. The university has named its vice president to serve as acting president. Bill Beekman is expected to serve in an interim role until the board of trustees can hire an interim president and then a permanent leader. The decision was announced Friday at the campus in East Lansing, Michigan.
Beekman is vice president and secretary of the board of trustees. He previously led the MSU Alumni Association and first began working at the university in 1995. He has an undergraduate degree from the school.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says her agency is investigating the Nassar sexual abuse scandal and will hold MSU accountable for any violations of federal law.
DeVos confirmed the investigation Friday.
DeVos said in a statement that what happened at the school is “abhorrent” and “cannot happen ever again — there or anywhere.”
The Education Department already has been investigating separate Title IX complaints at the university and the school’s compliance with providing campus crime and security information.