USA Gymnastics directs head tumbling coach to resign

Larry Nassar: What to know
USA Gymnastics via Wikimedia Commons
Michigan State and USA Gymnastics are named as defendants in a number of civil lawsuits by more than 100 accusers, some of whom accuse the institutions of concealing or improperly dismissing allegations of abuse.

USA Gymnastics has called for its head tumbling coach of the 2018 U.S. World Championships team to resign from that role pending an investigation into a report filed with a nonprofit aimed at eliminating abuse in amateur and professional sports.

Sergio Galvez also will not travel with the team to the 2018 Trampoline and Tumbling World Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia, set to be held from Nov. 7-10 “to maintain a safe environment for its athletes,” the sport’s embattled governing body said Friday in a press release.

It is not clear what is alleged in the report filed with the US Center for SafeSport. The US Olympic Committee agency that oversees sexual misconduct and other abuse allegations reported to national governing bodies said it does not speak about specific matters according to its policy.

CNN could not reach Galvez on Monday.

In a separate statement to CNN on Monday, USAG said they “placed Galvez on the list of suspended and restricted individuals per the provisions in USA Gymnastics Bylaw 9.3” on Friday.

Online USAG records show Galvez is suspended pending a hearing. The records indicate Galvez is not to have any unsupervised contact with minor athletes.

Friday’s announcement comes amid turmoil for USA Gymnastics, which is struggling to recover from the sex abuse scandal involving Larry Nassar.

Nassar is the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics.

Earlier this month, the sport’s governing body lost its second president in two months when former US Rep. Mary Bono stepped down as interim president.

Bono had taken over just a month after embattled president and CEO Kerry Perry quit. Perry, who held the job for nine months, was criticized for what many people characterized as inadequate action during the Nassar abuse fallout.

Bono came under fire in her first few days. In one instance, a September tweet surfaced of Bono defacing a Nike logo after Nike featured former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick in its advertising campaign. (Nike is a major sponsor of Olympic champion Simone Biles, a mega star for USA Gymnastics.)

Biles was critical of Bono. She tweeted: “don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything,” Biles tweeted. Others also criticized Bono’s tweet as being tone deaf, saying the suppression of athletes’ voices allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue.

Days after Bono’s resignation, former USA Gymnastics head Steve Penny was arrested in connection with accusations he removed documents linked to the Nassar sexual abuse case from the Karolyi Ranch gymnastics training facility in Texas, authorities said. A judge set Penny’s bail at $25,000.

Nassar was already serving 40 to 175 years in Michigan for sexually abusing women and girls under the guise of performing medical treatment when he was indicted in June on charges linked to allegations at the Karolyi Ranch.

He faces six counts of sexual assault of a child. Meanwhile, former USA Gymnastics trainer Deborah Van Horn is facing one count of sexual assault of a child in Texas, prosecutors said.

On Monday, two former gymnasts said they plan to sue USA Gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and “other enablers of this abuse.”

Tasha Schwikert, 33, is a former Olympian and her sister Jordan Schwikert, 32, is a former USA gymnastics national team member.

The recent news about Bono’s hiring and Penny’s arrest prompted her to come forward, Tasha Schwikert said.

“The most damning thing about all of this is abuse was happening to children. We must understand this was the culture that enabled Larry to position himself. I’m outraged that USAG has yet to take responsibility for this child abuser,” she said.

Tasha Schwikert says USA Gymnastics created a toxic culture of abuse that “put its own self-interest before participants.”

In a statement, USA Gymnastics said it is “deeply sorry that Tasha and Jordan Schwikert, or any athlete, were abused by Larry Nassar during their gymnastics careers. The organization has undergone significant reforms in the wake of his horrific acts that have impacted our athletes and community forever.”

USA Gymnastics said it does not comment on pending litigation.

USOC could not be immediately reached.