A USA Gymnastics executive who helped provide a cover story for Larry Nassar has stepped down.
Ron Galimore was chief operating officer, the second-highest ranking official at USA Gymnastics. His departure, announced Friday, comes as the U.S. Olympic Committee tries to strip USA Gymnastics of its national governing body status in the wake of the Nassar crisis.
Nassar, the longtime team physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, is serving an effective life sentence after being convicted of federal child pornography and state sexual abuse charges. More than 350 young women and girls have said Nassar abused them under the guise of medical treatment.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Galimore was asked to resign or did so voluntarily. But it comes as USA Gymnastics’ board weighs whether to voluntarily give up its governing body status or try to prove to the USOC that it can move past the Nassar scandal, with people and policies that make athlete protection guiding the organization.
That Galimore remained with USA Gymnastics until now was a source of anger and frustration for the survivors of Nassar’s abuse, who said it showed the federation was not sincere about changing a culture that allowed a sexual predator to thrive.
In May, The Indianapolis Star reported that Galimore was involved in coordinated efforts by Nassar and USA Gymnastics to conceal his dismissal by the federation.
MORE: Ex-USA Gymnastics national team member alleges that Larry Nassar abused her
Sarah Jantzi, the coach of Maggie Nichols, reported Nassar to USA Gymnastics in June 2015 after overhearing Nichols and another gymnast talking about Nassar’s “treatments.” USA Gymnastics waited more than a month while it did its own investigation before alerting the FBI. It barred Nassar from attending the U.S. Classic and the national championships during that time.
In the emails obtained by IndyStar, a member of the USA TODAY Network, then-USA Gymnastics attorney Scott D. Himsel told Nassar that Galimore would explain Nassar’s absences to the medical staff, using their agreed-upon stories.
“We’ll let Ron know to advise people that you weren't feeling well and decided to stay home," Himsel told Nassar before the Classic.
A few weeks later, Himsel wrote that Galimore would again tell the medical staff that Nassar would not be attending the national championships, suggesting it be for personal reasons. Nassar asked that it instead be attributed to the demands of his clinical practice.
“Understood,” Himsel responded, "Ron will proceed accordingly. USAG will be back in touch when it reaches the appropriate point in its review."
Though Galimore has kept a lower profile in recent months, he maintained his seat on the International Gymnastics Federation’s executive committee, a powerful role in the sport. He is the only American on the seven-person committee and, in that capacity, awarded some of the medals at the world championships earlier this month.
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