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When gymnasts look for answers, they only get money

Less than five months after the Tokyo Olympics, the gymnastics governing body in the United States has proposed a multi-million dollar legal deal to close a dark and painful chapter in which hundreds of gymnasts have been sexually assaulted by a former team doctor.

Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast in this sport, can’t do it.

Neither Aly Raisman, another Olympic gold medalist and other victims who in the past few days have publicly asked for answers once again about how the doctor, Lawrence G. Nassar, could harass hundreds of girls and women under U.S. surveillance. Gymnastics, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and so many coaches have accused, in part, of keeping them safe.

“They’re just trying to push it under the carpet and hoping people will forget about it when they watch this summer’s Olympics,” Raisman said on Monday about the “Today” show on NBC, which will broadcast the Tokyo Games.

Raisman also accused the Olympic organizations of a cover-up, although he didn’t say what exactly was covered because he said he didn’t have enough information.

And that lack of information is the crux of the problem.

Details of the US Gymnastics $ 217 million settlement offer were made public last month and include an offer that releases various entities and individuals involved in the case from liability, including the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny, as well as former national team coordinators Marta and Bela Karolyi. Payments offered to over 500 victims of Nassar range from $ 82.550 to $ 1.25 million, with the highest payments going to harassed gymnasts at the Olympics or world championships.

However, the offer does not appear to require Olympic or gymnastic officials to reveal additional information that could shed light on how Nassar could assault so many people without the kind of oversight that could have stopped him. John Manly, a lawyer who represents Biles, Raisman and other victims, called it unacceptable.

“I wish they both wanted an independent investigation as much as the survivors and I. High anxiety. Hard not to think of everything I DON’T WANT TO THINK !!! “said the tweet.

In another post, he said: “AND they don’t even want to know HOW it was allowed to happen and WHO let it happen so it NEVER happens again? Shouldn’t people be held accountable? Who am I asking ??? torn at this point … “

These strong reactions could indicate the distance between the athletes and the referees in the resolution of the case and their very different objectives.

Gymnasts are struggling for the maximum amount of information to be released in order to maintain public pressure on the Olympic committee and gymnastics federation to make the types of radical changes that could curb future abuse. Government officials, however, would prefer to expedite the end of the case so that the focus on it disappears before the Olympics and to avoid a process that could impose tougher financial penalties if the victims prevail.

U.S. gymnastics filed for bankruptcy in December 2018, claiming that the move would speed up payments to Nassar’s victims. The filing stopped the dozens of lawsuits that US gymnastics was facing, interrupting any exchange of information in those cases.

But the path from filing for bankruptcy to offering to pay for those women has been tortuous, and probably expected to be.

Jonathan Lipson, a bankruptcy law expert and professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law, said the US gymnastics case is complicated because it goes deeper than just a “money only” and “business only” case.

He said it was similar to the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy case resulting from the avalanche of lawsuits that the company faced in connection with the drug at the heart of the opiate crisis or the recent Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy in light of their sex abuse scandal and the hundreds of lawsuits from it.

“They all involve underlying damage that is more difficult to deal with than usual failure to pay a debt,” said Lipson. “This was also the problem with the Catholic church. They had problems that cannot be cashed out and the bankruptcy system was designed to cash out people. “

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