Chief of USA Gymnastics is out in latest shake-up since sexual assault scandal
Katy Perry, who took the job around the time the team doctor was pleading guilty to abusing athletes, departed under pressure, according to news reports
USA Gymnastics said on Tuesday that its chief executive had left the sport’s national governing body, as the organisation tries to recover from a scandal over the sexual abuse of hundreds of female athletes by one of its team doctors.
Media reports said Kerry Perry, a former media executive who took the job nine months ago, departed under pressure.
Perry was hired around the time former national team doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually abusing more than 100 gymnasts, including Olympic gold medallists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber.
The full board of USA Gymnastics, the sport’s national governing body, resigned early this year after revelations that officials there had turned a blind eye to the accusations.
“In the wake of horrific events that have impacted our athletes and the entire gymnastics community, USA Gymnastics has made progress in stabilising itself,” Karen Golz, chair of the USA Gymnastics Board, said in a statement.
Golz thanked Perry “for her leadership under very difficult circumstances”.
The Orange County Register, which reported the departure hours before USA Gymnastics announced it, said she was forced out amid pressure from the US Olympic Committee, according to two unidentified people it said were familiar with the process.
Perry did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment, and USA Gymnastics spokeswoman Leslie King declined to comment on the report. The group’s statement did not say why she was leaving.
Perry had been criticised for not reaching out to the victims of Nassar’s sexual abuse and for focusing on marketing rather than structural changes, the Register said.
Nassar, who also was a doctor for athletes at Michigan State University, was convicted last year of sexually molesting gymnasts in incidents dating as far back as the 1990s and was sentenced in January to an effective life term in prison.
The sentencing followed an extraordinary weeklong hearing that saw a parade of Nassar victims tell their stories in raw and unflinching terms.