Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman spoke out against the new interim president and CEO of USA Gymnastics Monday.
In a series of tweets, Raisman criticized USA Gymnastics for hiring Mary Bono, a former Republican congresswoman from California who was appointed Friday as interim head. Bono previously worked for Faegre Baker Daniels, a law firm that represented USA Gymnastics in 2015 in its initial investigation of Larry Nassar, the disgraced former team doctor currently serving federal and state prison sentences on child pornography and sexual assault charges.
Raisman said Faegre Baker Daniels was aware that gymnasts had reported Nassar’s abuse in 2015. USA Gymnastics has said it first learned about “athlete concerns” against Nassar in 2015, and that it hired the law firm to look into the initial claims, the Indianapolis Star reports.
“My teammates and I reported Nassar’s abuse to USAG in 2015. We now know USOC & lawyers at Faegre Baker Daniels (Mary Bono’s firm) were also told then, yet Nassar continued to abuse children for 13 months!?” Raisman wrote. “Why hire someone associated with the firm that helped cover up our abuse?”
USA Gymnastics said it cut ties with Nassar in the summer of 2015, according to a timeline by the Indianapolis Star about the former doctor. Michigan State University, where Nassar was a faculty member, fired the doctor in Sept. 2016. NBC News reports Nassar allegedly abused several women between the time USA Gymnastics received its first alert in 2015 and 2016, when accusations against him became public. More than 200 women have accused Nassar of sexually assaulting them while he worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.
Faegre Baker Daniels rebuked Raisman’s claim that the firm covered up abuse.
“It is a matter of public record that a FaegreBD lawyer participated in reporting Larry Nassar to the FBI in the summer of 2015 — a fact that refutes any claim of a cover up,” read a statement from the firm to TIME. “We are bound by our obligation of client confidentiality, and thus we cannot comment further at this time.”
The USA Gymnastics Board of Directors said in a statement to TIME that Bono’s work for the firm was not related to the 2015 investigation. Bono did not immediately offer comment.
“Mary Bono worked at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, the legislative strategies and policies branch in Washington, DC.,” the board’s statement said. “Faegre Baker Daniels is a large, global firm that has a number of divisions and areas, and Mary was not involved in FBD’s work with USA Gymnastics as counsel of record.”
Raisman was not the only person to speak out against Bono’s hiring. Kaylee Lorincz, Nassar accuser, also said he continued to abuse girls in 2016, after Faegre Baker Daniels would have become aware of what he was doing.
Bono also became the subject of controversy over the weekend after it emerged that she had criticized Nike on Twitter. In response to the company making Colin Kaepernick the face of a new advertising campaign, Bono posted a photo of her coloring over the Nike swoosh on her sneakers.
Olympic champion Simone Biles, who is sponsored by Nike, quote-tweeted Bono’s picture and wrote, “Don’t worry, it’s not like we needed a smarter USA gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything.”
Bono has since deleted her original tweet.
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