Ron Galimore, the longtime chief operating officer for U.S.A. Gymnastics, resigned on Friday, becoming the latest high-profile departure from the embattled organization in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that sent a former national team doctor to prison.
The move comes as U.S.A. Gymnastics is facing decertification by the United States Olympic Committee amid concerns about its leadership and the way it handled complaints against Lawrence G. Nassar, the former team doctor now serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography. Decertification would cost the organization its status as the national governing body for the sport.
Nassar is accused of sexually abusing hundreds of female athletes under the guise of treatment while he worked for Michigan State and U.S.A. Gymnastics.
U.S.A. Gymnastics did not comment on Friday’s move beyond saying in a statement that its board accepted the resignation and wished Galimore “well in his future endeavors.”
The Indianapolis Star reported in May that a lawyer for U.S.A. Gymnastics directed Galimore to come up with a false excuse to explain Nassar’s absence at major gymnastic events in the summer of 2015. The organization was looking into complaints against Nassar at the time.
“We’ll let Ron know to advise people that you weren’t feeling well and decided to stay home,” Scott Himsel, an attorney hired by U.S.A. Gymnastics, wrote in an email to Nassar that was obtained by The Star.
U.S.A. Gymnastics is accused of covering up assault allegations. The group didn’t tell Michigan State or elite gymnastics clubs about complaints against Nassar in 2015. The organization said that it was acting on guidance from the F.B.I. when it did not disclose the complaints.
Nassar publicly stated in September 2015 that he was retiring from U.S.A. Gymnastics, but he continued to see young women and girls for many months at his Michigan State office and at a gym near Lansing, Mich.
There has been significant turnover atop the organization in the last two years, as its last three chief executives resigned under pressure. The top job is vacant; Galimore had remained on as the second-highest ranking officer. Though he kept a lower profile in recent months, he did hand out medals at an awards ceremony at the recently completed world championships in Doha, Qatar.
Galimore’s continued presence has been a point of contention with Nassar survivors and vocal critics who wondered how committed U.S.A. Gymnastics was to changing its culture if it allowed Galimore to remain.
Sarah Hirshland, the new chief executive of the U.S.O.C., told the gymnastics community “you deserve better,” in an open letter released this month. Hirshland said the challenges facing U.S.A. Gymnastics were more than it was capable of overcoming as currently constructed.
The organization is weighing whether to give up its status as a national governing body on its own. If not, it must convince the U.S.O.C. that it can fix its problems and create an environment that emphasizes athlete safety, wellness and overall transparency.
Galimore, a standout gymnast who was on the 1980 U.S. Summer Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Games, joined U.S.A. Gymnastics in 1994, initially working with the men’s program before moving into other areas within the organization.
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