USA Gymnast Kennedy Baker Sues USAG & USOC For Failing To Prevent Sexual Assault

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Former U.S.A. Gymnastics National Team member Kennedy Baker has filed a civil lawsuit against U.S.A. Gymnastics (USAG), United States Olympic Committee (USOC), criminally convicted former USAG national team doctor Larry Nassar, as well as former USAG presidents including Steve Penny for failing to prevent her unlawful sexual assault.                                                                                                                                         Filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court, the complaint alleges Ms. Baker was referred to Nassar for medical treatment by USAG “even though it knew or should have known of Nassar’s sexual abuse and could have prevented it by taking sexual abuse allegations seriously and maintaining a culture of accountability and transparency.” In addition, the complaint alleges that USOC threatened to decertify USAG as the sport’s national governing body for denying “due process” to child sex abusers whom it placed on a ban list.

READ THE COMPLAINT

“Watching friends and fellow gymnasts share their stories has inspired and given me the strength to come forward and share my story,” Ms. Baker said. “I have also been motivated by anger at USAG’s complete incompetence to rebuild its leadership and change the culture that enabled Larry to abuse so many of us as minors. It’s clear that we must keep the pressure on USAG, USOC and others responsible to ensure this never happens again. I love this sport and want current and future gymnasts’ experiences to be vastly different than mine” .

Ms. Baker is represented by Kevin Boyle and Jesse Creed of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP; Mo Aziz of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz; and attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel.

“It is past time for USAG and USOC to take responsibility for the central role they played in allowing the abuse of these young women. Through the brave actions of people like Kennedy, and the hundreds of victims that came before her, we hope these organizations will finally be forced to make changes to prevent this abuse from ever happening again,” said Mr. Boyle and Mr. Creed.

According to the complaint, “USAG could have fired Dr. Nassar before the sexual abuse of Ms. Baker occurred, and USOC could have caused USAG to fire Dr. Nassar,” but instead USAG kept a secret file of sexual abuse allegations. Baker’s abuse began at the 2011 U.S. Championships, during her very first visit with Nassar, and continued for two years at USAG-sponsored national competitions and training camps, including the Karolyi Ranch and at the 2012 Olympic Trials in San Jose, Calif.

“For over 20 years, USAG and USOC protected Larry Nassar and enabled him to sexually abuse, assault and molest hundreds of victims. These institutions and its enablers failed to protect and care for these young women as minors and must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Mr. Aziz and Mrs. Simpson Tuegel.

In October, USA Olympic Bronze Medal Gymnast Tasha Schwikert and USA Gymnastics national team member Jordan Schwikert held a press conference in Los Angeles to announce the filing of their civil lawsuits against USA Gymnastics (USAG), the US Olympic Committee (USOC), and criminally convicted former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar for enabling and failing to prevent the unlawful sexual assault of the young women in their care.

Earlier this week, a separate complaint was filed on behalf of a Jane Doe in Los Angeles County against USAG and USOC related to sexual abuse from Larry Nassar.

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