Game Over: Commission to Protect Youth Athletes

Leading Experts Conduct Independent Investigation of the USA Gymnastics - Larry Nassar Scandal to Ensure It Never Happens Again

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The Game Over: Commission to Protect Youth Athletes

Led by Marci Hamilton, CEO of CHILD USA and Fox Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, is composed of 16 members, all of whom are experts in the field, and is engaged in fact-finding and investigation of all responsible institutions and individuals making it possible for Larry Nasser to abuse hundreds of gymnasts. The Commission will investigate Larry Nassar's abuse, hold public hearings, issue a Report on stopping child abuse, and is building a database that will eventually be made available to the public.

Commission Comprised of National Experts in Child Sex Abuse, Law Enforcement, Academia, Trauma, Sports and Investigative Journalism

The sex abuse investigation centered around Dr. Larry Nassar, team doctor for USA Gymnastics (USAG) and Michigan State University (MSU), is one of the most complex in modern history, involving many institutions, coaches, and adults—all of whom failed to appropriately protect hundreds of children from sex abuse. A total of 156 women and girls testified against Larry Nassar at his 2017-18 criminal trial, but 265 have come forward so far. Experts believe there are likely more.

This independent commission is investigating all aspects of the systems that enabled Larry Nassar's abuse, and will examine how they failed, reach conclusions, and issue recommendations to stop child sex abuse in the future. It is composed of the leading experts in the field of child sex abuse from the medical, social science, legal, and public policy arenas, each of whom is donating their time pro bono to the project.

Key components of the commission include:

  • Fact-Finding, Data Collection

  • Creation of Publicly Available, Searchable Database of All Information

  • Legal and Policy Review by Legal Experts in the United States

  • Public Participation and Transparency

Upon completion of the fact finding, data collection, and public hearings, the commission will compose and release its findings to the public and policymakers. All materials gathered and testimony obtained will be archived and made available to the public.


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UPDATE ON NASSAR SCANDAL 5/6/19

May 3, 2019 – Premier of HBO’s “At the Heart of Gold” documentary.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/05/new-film-exposes-how-larry-nassar-was-able-abuse/588571/

May 2, 2019 – A Nassar inspired bill is moving through the MI state legislature again.  It is aimed at strengthening rules for health care workers performing penetrative medical examinations.  

 https://www.wilx.com/content/news/MI-Legislature-makes-another-attempt-to-pass-a-Nassar-Bill-509393441.html

May 1, 2019 – New USAG sports medicine director leaves after one day due to “conflict of interests” and that it was not due to social media outrage.

 https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/30/us/usa-gymnastics--director-of-sports-medicine-out/index.html

April 30, 2019 – article published about how Nassar was one of many coaches/doctors who abused gymnasts within USAG

 https://www.vox.com/2019/4/30/18287522/larry-nassar-usa-gymnastics-bankruptcy-usag-assault

April 30, 2019 – Lawsuit claims that USOC lied about sexual assaults of athletes when applying for insurance with the Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company.

 https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1078630/lawsuit-claims-united-states-olympic-committee-lied-about-sexual-assaults-of-athletes

April 24, 2019 – USAG new president apologizes for insensitive comments about Larry Nassar “The reason why I wasn't abused by him is because my coach was by my side when he saw me. I was seen by him in a public setting.”

 https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2019/04/24/usa-gymnastics-president-li-li-leung-sorry-for-larry-nassar-comments/3560303002/

April 24, 2019 – Settlements talks stall between MSU and the second wave of survivors.  The second wave settlements will be much smaller than the first wave due to the university not being bound by the same suit.

 https://www.wilx.com/content/news/Some-Wave-2-survivors-have-settled-Nassar-related-lawsuits-against-MSU-509005241.html

April 24, 2019 - USOC is threatening decertification of USAG however, no one else is stepping forward to take their place in the sport.  They plan to wait until bankruptcy proceedings are finished before fully deciding what to do.

 https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/apr/24/15-months-on-from-larry-nassar-usa-gymnastics-struggles-to-find-its-way

April 22, 2019 – In an interview, MSU interim president Satish Udpa stated that he will not give over sensitive document to the Attorney General’s office.  He also stated that he would consider creating a new healing fund for victims to replace the one that was closed by Engler in December.

 https://statenews.com/article/2019/04/takeaways-from-the-state-news-sit-down-with-satish-udpa

April 17, 2019 – “Believed” Podcast honored with a Scripps Howard award

 https://www.wxyz.com/news/believed-podcast-hosts-honored-for-their-work-with-a-scripps-howard-award

April 15, 2019 – MSU exhibit “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” opens to honor survivors of Larry Nassar

 https://fox59.com/2019/04/15/michigan-states-new-exhibit-shares-nassar-abuse-victims-stories/

April 12, 2019 – William Strampel, the former dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, has been charged with a count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.  This was changed from the previous charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.  Strampel has been given access to MSU emails for his case.  Judge also granted admittance of evidence of five photos of scantily clad women on Strampel’s computer.

 https://www.wilx.com/content/news/Stremple-will-face-an-additional-charge-says-Judge--508501971.html

April 12, 2019 – Nassar survivors confronted MSU at trustee meeting.  Many are accusing MSU of having a confrontational attitude with them and only saying certain things for the media and not treating them appropriately including, reimbursement for counseling and treatment for survivors.  This was the first trustee meeting held since the MSU student spoke out about being encouraged by the university to stay silent after she was raped by MSU basketball players.

 https://www.wilx.com/content/news/MSU-Board-of-Trustees-invite-Nassar-survivors-to-Fridays-board-meeting-508477681.html 

April 11, 2019 – DeVos is being urged to meet with Nassar survivors as she looks to make changes to Title IX that would go in the opposite direction of that needed to combat sexual assault.

 https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/11/slotkin-wants-devos-meet-nassar-victims/3440083002/


IN THE NEWS

Eugene psychologist Steven Ungerleider a driving force behind HBO documentary about USA gymnastics sex abuse scandal

Eugene sports psychologist Steven Ungerleider already had been researching cases of young athletes who were victims of sexual assault by coaches and trainers when the Larry Nassar case exploded into the public view.

Nassar, former U.S. gymnastics team doctor, pleaded guilty in 2017 of molesting gymnasts as young as 13 while treating them medically.

The project took off once Nassar’s victims began coming forward. Suddenly, Ungerleider and fellow researcher David Ulich had something bigger on their hands.

Expert weighs in on House changes to Nassar inspired bills

"The Michigan House and Senate are both behind a package of bills designed to improve how our state handles child abuse and prevent another sexual abuse scandal like the one involving Larry Nassar.

However, the two chambers disagree on what changes need to happen.

One major theme we saw with the Nassar case is that women were telling coaches and trainers about Nassar’s questionable treatments and majority of the time, nothing was done about it."

A. Ilitch | March 31, 2018

Nassar and former USA Gymnastics trainer indicted for alleged sexual abuse at Karolyi Ranch in Texas

"Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for USA Gymnastics, and former USA Gymnastics trainer Deborah Van Horn were indicted in Texas Friday on charges of sexual assault of a child at the Karolyi Ranch, where for decades numerous Olympians have trained.

Walker County prosecutors' did not file any charges against training center owners and famed gymnastic coaches Martha and Bela Karolyi -- a decision blasted by a lawyer representing gymnasts sexually abused by Nassar."

R. Ellis | June 29, 2018


Chair:

Marci A. Hamilton, Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice, University of Pennsylvania

Commissioners:

Dr. Steven Ungerleider, Author; Psychologist; Executive board of INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC Committee; 2 time Emmy nominee 

Steven Berkowitz, MD, Associate Professor, Clinical Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine; Director, Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery

Pat Ciarrocchi, former CBS3 Philadelphia news anchor who has covered the sex abuse crisis in depth

Sharon Cooper, MD, CEO, Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, P.A.

David Corwin, MD, Professor and Director of Forensic Services, Pediatrics Department, University of Utah

James Carpenter, Esq., Former Chief, Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, Philadelphia D.A. Office

Melissa Jampol, Esq., Member, Epstein Becker Green; Former Assistant U.S. Attorney, New Jersey

Kathleen Faller, MSW, Professor Emerita of Children and Families in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan; Director, Family Assessment Clinic; Principal Investigator on the University of Michigan site of National Child Welfare Workforce Institute

Teresa Huizar, Executive Director, National Children’s Alliance

Jennie Noll, PhD, Professor for Healthy Children, Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State; Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Daniel Pollack, MSW, JD, Professor at Yeshiva University’s School of Social Work and a frequent expert witness in child welfare lawsuits

Monica Rowland, Former President, Athletes Advisory Council to the US Olympic Committee, Pentathlon Coach

Philip Scribano, DO, MSCE, Director of Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; program director of the Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship Program

Joyanna Silberg, PhD, Senior Child Trauma Consultant, Sheppard Pratt Health System; Owner, Childhood Recovery Resources; President, Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence

James R. Marsh, Esq., Founder, Children’s Law Center (Washington D.C.)

 

Advisory Committee:

Nancy Hogshead Makar, J.D., Chair

Lynne Abraham, former Philadelphia District Attorney, Archer

Dean Colson, Esq., Colson Hicks Eidson

Jane Eisner, journalist, EIC, The Forward

Timothy Evans, journalist, Indy Star

Martin Finkel

Prof. Richard Gelles, University of Pennsylvania

Thomas Kline, Esq., Kline & Specter PC

Thomas Lyon, Esq., USC School of Law

Paul Mones, Esq.

Abbie Newman, R.N. J.D., CEO of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center

David Ulich, Esq., Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

 

Executive Staff: 

Ali Boren, Esq. Director of Legal, CHILD USA

Courtney Kiehl, Esq. CHILD USA Fellow and former elite gymnast

Staff:

Project Manager: Jillian Ruck

Fox Leadership Program Fellows, University of Pennsylvania

Toll Public Interest Center Interns, University of Pennsylvania School of Law

CHILD USA Interns