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Aly Raisman blasts USA Gymnastics over settlement offer for Nassar victims

The Olympic gold medalist says USA Gymnastics is engaging in "a cover-up" and that she finds a proposed settlement absolving officials of liability "offensive."
/ Source: TODAY

Aly Raisman called a proposed new settlement by USA Gymnastics "offensive" and said the organization is blocking efforts to get all the details of how former doctor Larry Nassar was able to sexually abuse numerous athletes for years.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist spoke with Stephanie Gosk in an exclusive interview on TODAY Monday about a $215 million settlement proposed by USA Gymnastics. The Washington Post reported the settlement would compensate victims in a four-tiered system based on where the abuse happened and the professional level reached by each athlete.

The proposed settlement would also releases former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny, former coaches Martha and Béla Károlyi, and other U.S. Olympic officials from liability, according to the Post.

"It's honestly offensive," Raisman told Gosk. "It shows they don't care. They're just trying to push it under the rug and hoping people will forget about it when they watch the Olympics this summer."

Raisman, 25, is not alone in her view of the proposed settlement, as superstar gymnast and Raisman's former Olympic teammate Simone Biles tweeted her disgust about it on Saturday.

"Ugh at the airport. Heading to team camp. Still want answers from USAG and USOPC,'' she wrote. "Wish they BOTH wanted an independent investigation as much as the survivors & I do. Anxiety high. Hard not to think about everything that I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT!!!

"And don’t THEY also want to know HOW everything was allowed to happen and WHO let it happen so it NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN? Shouldn’t people be held accountable? Who do I ask??? I’m torn at this point...."

Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander, who was the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar of abuse, echoed Biles' sentiments.

"I'm with you Simone. Your character and courage is far above the leadership of either organization,'' she tweeted. "Sponsors of these organizations need to know that the worst thing they can do for survivors, athletes and the next generation, is to keep these broken organizations alive."

Raisman and Biles have both said they were sexually abused by Nassar, a former team doctor for USA Gymnastics who is now serving life in prison.

They believe the proposed settlement does not address the heart of the issue.

"It's devastating," Raisman told Gosk. "It's incredibly draining. USA Gymnastics, United States Olympic Committee — they refused to take any accountability to address the issue, to figure out what went wrong."

Raisman tweeted on Saturday that USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic committee are engaged in "a massive cover-up."

She elaborated on those comments on TODAY Monday.

"The problem is I don't know exactly," Raisman said about the "cover-up" accusation. "I don't know all the answers. And in order to make real change, we need to understand exactly what went wrong.

"I personally would like to see USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee release all their documents and data because they are not doing that. They're not answering our questions."

USA Gymnastics responded to Raisman's comments in a statement to NBC News saying that it has fully cooperated with all investigative bodies and must "respect the confidentiality and integrity" of the process.

The organization said is has "deep respect and empathy for the victims" and that it is committed to achieving "justice for the survivors in an expedited manner." USA Gymnastics added that it has instituted reforms that include updated bylaws focused on safety and clearer policies about reporting abuse.

The ongoing search for answers by Biles, Raisman and other Nassar survivors comes less than six months before the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

"It's hard to put into words,'' Raisman said. "I've been watching the gymnasts, and I'm really proud of them. I think that they're doing an amazing job. I am heartbroken that this is still going on."