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Senate and House Pass Bill in Response to Dr. Larry Nassar Scandal
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Larry Nassar

Summary: The Senate plans to pass a new law in response to accusations that Dr. Larry Nassar molested hundreds of young female gymnasts. 

Last week, Dr. Larry Nassar was sentenced to prison for 175 years for abusing over 150 young female gymnasts. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a law that requires governing bodies of amateur athletic organizations to report sexual abuse allegations immediately to law enforcement.


“Horrific sexual abuse and tepid responses from organizations that exist to support the careers of U.S. Olympic athletes, are nothing short of a betrayal,” U.S. Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, said to the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday. “Today’s Senate vote sends the president legislation putting necessary new safeguards in place.”

Nassar was the official doctor for the USA Gymnastics Team, and he was also on staff at Michigan State University. Some of his victims said that they had reported him inappropriately touching them during “exams,” but nothing was ever done. Thus, he was allowed the opportunity to molest hundreds of girls for decades.

Attorney Mick Grewal said that this is one of the biggest sports scandals of all time.

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“The only case that’s out there that’s even similar in stature is Penn State, and this is now six times as big as Penn State, maybe seven times,” Grewal said to Time. The attorney was referring to the sexual abuse case of Jerry Sandusky, a football coach who had molested young men at Penn State.

New York Daily News reported on Tuesday that Senator Dianne Feinstein said at a press conference that the bill would be voted on later that day. The Democrat said it then would be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.

On Monday, the House had already overwhelmingly approved the measure.

Jeanette Antolin, who was a gymnast in the late 1990s, said that the legislation was important. The Olympian, who was molested by Nassar, added that the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University should be investigated for their complicity in the heinous crimes which were under their nose for 25 years.

“Time’s up,” Antolin said. “Every minute that goes by with unanswered questions, more innocent children can be harmed.”

Lawmakers in the House and Senate stated that it was necessary to pass the law because rules on what to do when abuse is reported is not standard across the country. In the new legislation, failure to report a sexual abuse claim could lead the governing body to serve one year in prison.

The new law also recognizes that some children need time to realize what had happened to them. Because of this, the legislation extends the statute of limitations for victims to sue alleged abusers. They now have until the age of 28 or up to 10 years after the realization of the violation.

Additionally, the law limits one-on-one interactions with minors and adults, and it requires governing bodies for amateur athletes to install “reasonable procedures” to prevent abuse.

What do you think of the new law? Let us know in the comments below.


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