Nearly eight months after Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics national team doctor, was convicted of sexual assault and child pornography, Kerry Perry has resigned as the president and CEO of USA Gymnastics.
Her resignation was made public on Sept. 4 after USA Gymnastics released an official statement announcing it and the search for an interim CEO. Karen Golz, chair of the USA Gymnastics board, thanked Perry for her work following Nassar’s conviction.
“I want to thank Kerry for her leadership under very difficult circumstances,” Golz said in the statement. “In wake of the horrible events that have impacted our athletes and the entire gymnastics community, USA Gymnastics has made progress in stabilizing itself and setting a new path to ensure that the safety and interests of our athletes remains at the heart of our mission.”
The board of directors also stated that it established a management committee to ensure USA Gymnastics will continue its day-to-day operations. It also stated it is forming a search committee of board members, athletes and other members of the gymnastics community to search for a permanent CEO.
Though neither the board of directors nor Perry gave an official reason for her resignation, Perry faced heavy criticism throughout her presidency for not being able to overturn the corrupt policies that allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue.
In a statement following Perry’s resignation, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell wrote in a statement that Perry was never transparent about the work she did or her plans to improve USA Gymnastics.
“There is still a lack of urgency behind addressing how we protect young people from physical and emotional abuse while maintaining the amateur status that allows young people to compete,” Dingell wrote in a statement.
Nassar was sentenced to up 175 years in prison for multiple accounts of sexual abuse on Jan. 24, 2018. For decades Nassar used his position of power as a trusted USA Gymnastics team physician and Michigan State University sports doctor to molest and assault more than a hundred gymnasts.
Over 300 women and girls came forward and said Nassar had abused them, indicating the USA Gymnastics Team and the sport as a whole was an environment in which athletes could be continually abused without intervention. Multiple victims have indicated that athletes tried to alert officials in the sport repeatedly on Nassar’s abuses only for their statements to be ignored or covered up.
The former doctor was convicted little over a month into Perry’s time as CEO of USA Gymnastics. Perry took the position in December shortly after Nassar pleaded guilty to the accounts of abuse.
So far, the responses to the news of Perry’s resignation have been overwhelmingly positive, many believing her resignation will hopefully put an end to the period of turmoil and corruption preceding and following Nassar’s conviction.
Cynthia Drew, political activist and long-time follower of gymnastics, voiced her support for Perry’s resignation in a response to the board’s statement via Twitter.
“Thank you to the newly placed board of directors on this very important matter,” Drew tweeted. “With 50 years of passion and involvement in this wonderful sport, this is very encouraging and I wish the selection committee the very best in finding a suitable leader.”