Two U.S. senators have asked the Justice Department to probe whether the former boss of the Colorado Springs-based U.S. Olympic Committee lied to Congress in written testimony about his response to the Larry Nassar scandal.
Scott Blackmun, former CEO of the Olympic Committee, told lawmakers in June that he consulted with SafeSport officials after learning that Nassar, the team doctor for USA Gymnastics, was accused of sexually assaulting gymnasts. In an internal review of the scandal requested by the USOC and released Monday, Blackmun told the independent investigators that he was mistaken in his recollection about notifying SafeSport and instead kept mum on the Nassar case.
SafeSport, an independent nonprofit combating sexual abuse and other misconduct in Olympic and Paralympic sports, was notified about Nassar after media reports in 2016, 14 months after Blackmun was told about the accusations.
U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, want the FBI and the U.S. attorney general to determine if Blackmun made “materially false statements contained in his written testimony to the subcommittee during the course of the subcommittee’s investigation.”
The senators cited federal law that could bring a prison term of up to five years for lying to lawmakers.
The call for a criminal probe came as the Olympic Committee’s board met in San Francisco to consider the investigation report, which highlighted the USOC’s failures in the scandal and said the sports oversight body was too focused on medals and money rather than athlete safety.
Outgoing Olympic Committee board Chairman Larry Probst said USOC leaders hadn’t seen the request from the senators.
“It is not appropriate for us to comment at this time on that matter,” Probst said.
The Denver-based U.S. Center for SafeSport referred questions to the Olympic Committee, noting that it only opened its doors as an independent entity this year.
Blackmun this week has not responded to requests for comment.
Blackmun resigned from his Olympic Committee post in February amid the growing Nassar scandal. The former physician for USA Gymnastics was sentenced in January to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assaults on scores of gymnasts.
After Blackmun’s resignation, the Olympic Committee began an independent investigation into how the Nassar case was handled.
Investigators concluded that Blackmun concealed the Nassar case from Olympic officials and the committee’s board of directors for more than a year.
“Inaction and concealment had consequences: dozens of girls and young women were abused during the yearlong period between the summer of 2015 and September 2016,” investigators said.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240 Twitter: @xroederx