Expert calls sexual abuse in US Gymnastics “one of the biggest scandals in Olympic history”

L-R: Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas. Photos from: Agência Brasil and Wikimedia Commons

L-R: Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas. Photos from: Agência Brasil and Wikimedia Commons

A sociology professor has slammed the Olympic Committee for their handling of sexual abuse claims.

Professor Ellis Cashmore, visiting professor at Aston University, said that the sexual abuse by the former USA Team Gymnastics sports doctor – Larry Nassar – was “one of the biggest scandals in Olympic history”.

“For the last 18 months to two years, the biggest story in world sport has been the Russian Doping Scandal and people have been up in arms about it.

“Russia has been disqualified from the Olympic Games and won’t be appearing at the Olympics next month. It’s as if this is the greatest problem in sport.

“For me, Russian doping doesn’t even get on the scale of this particular crime.”

His comments come after four-time Olympic champion, Simone Biles, said she was abused by 54-year-old Nassar.

Three former US Olympians have accused Nassar of sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment, including Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, who won gold with Biles in the team event at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Nassar was involved with the US gymnastics programme from the 1980’s until July 2015, when the sport’s national governing body sacked him.

Overall, 130 women have filed civil lawsuits against the former sports doctor accusing him of abuse.

Cashmore added:

“It’s not just a scandal, it’s systematic abuse of young girls by someone in a formal capacity who was entrusted to train, guide and treat them for injury.”

Larry Nassar will be sentenced this month over two cases in which he admits assaulting female gymnasts.

He was jailed for 60 years in December for three counts relating to child sex abuse images on his computer.

Nassar’s case was part of a scandal which saw USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny resign in 2017.

Penny was accused by victims of failing to quickly notify authorities about abuse allegations.

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