Jan 26 (Reuters) - The leadership of USA Gymnastics remained silent on Friday in the face of pressure from U.S. Olympic officials and others to resign en masse two days after the team doctor was sentenced for abusing female athletes.
As of Friday morning, USA Gymnastics had not issued an official comment on the call for its 18 listed directors to step down after long-time team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced on Wednesday to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting young female gymnasts.
Nassar, 54, was jailed for carrying out the attacks on young girls under the guise of medical treatment following a week-long hearing in which more than 150 accusers recounted their stories in a Michigan courtroom.
One of those 18 directors, Kevin Martinez, an ESPN executive, told Reuters on Thursday he had cut ties with the gymnastics federation, after the U.S. Olympic Committee’s chief executive threatened to decertify USA Gymnastics unless all board members were removed.
The U.S. Olympic Committee’s CEO, Scott Blackmun, joined the chorus calling for resignations, CNN reported early on Friday.
The board will lose its status as a sports governing body unless all of its current members resign by Wednesday and an interim board is in place by February 28, the network reported.
None of the remaining listed directors was immediately available for comment.
Many of the victims also came out with criticism of the U.S. Olympic Committee for not doing enough to prevent the abuse.
“Where is the accountability?,” multiple Olympic gold medalist gymnast Aly Raisman wrote on her Twitter feed on Thursday in a message directed both at USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“According to my knowledge, Larry Nassar did not have a medical license in Texas where we trained for the Olympics. How could you allow this?,” she wrote.
Martinez’s departure comes after three other members, who held the USAG board’s leadership positions, stepped down on Monday. The scandal has already cost USAG sponsors and heavily damaged its reputation.
The group said in a statement on Wednesday in response to the resignation demand by the U.S. Olympic Committee that there should be “meaningful change within our organization,” and has not commented beyond that.
Lou Anna Simon, the president of Michigan State University, where Nassar also worked, stepped down on Wednesday after facing a barrage of criticism for not doing enough to halt the abuse.
About 160 of Nassar’s victims gave harrowing personal accounts of what they suffered at his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan.
Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Richard Balmforth