Former Olympians Aly Raisman (left) and Jordyn Wieber sit in Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s courtroom during the fourth day of sentencing for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault in Lansing, Michigan. (Matthew Dae Smith /Lansing State Journal via AP)

Former Olympians Aly Raisman (left) and Jordyn Wieber sit in Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s courtroom during the fourth day of sentencing for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault in Lansing, Michigan. (Matthew Dae Smith /Lansing State Journal via AP)

Top gymnastics board members resign in wake of abuse case

Gymnasts say the organization did nothing to protect them after they were abused by the former team doctor.

By Eddie Pells / Associated Press

The chairman, vice chairman and treasurer of USA Gymnastics resigned Monday, heeding calls from the U.S. Olympic Committee and angered gymnasts who say the organization did nothing to protect them after they were abused by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Paul Parilla, Jay Binder and Bitsy Kelley announced they were stepping down as testimony in Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Michigan moved into its second week.

A number of Olympians have been among those testifying. Many have also sued the USOC and USA Gymnastics and called for the sports leaders to leave their jobs.

USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny was forced out last year.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that USOC CEO Scott Blackmun met with Parilla earlier this month and asked for his resignation. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the issue publicly.

In a statement, Blackmun said the USOC has been discussing changes with leaders at USA Gymnastics since October.

“Those discussions accelerated over the holidays and today you have seen three board resignations,” Blackmun said. “New board leadership is necessary because the current leaders have been focused on establishing that they did nothing wrong. USA Gymnastics needs to focus on supporting the brave survivors.”

The new CEO, Kerry Perry, said USA Gymnastics supported the resignations.

“We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization,” she said.

Last week, USA Gymnastics said it would no longer hold training camps at the Karolyi ranch in Texas, where a number of gymnasts said Nassar abused them. That announcement only came after Olympic all-around champion Simone Biles complained that USA Gymnastics hadn’t moved to find a different training locale.

Another member of the 2016 team, Aly Raisman , gave some of the most compelling testimony last week.

“To believe in the future of gymnastics is to believe in change,” she said. “But how are we to believe in change when these organizations aren’t even willing to acknowledge the problem?”

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