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US senators call for Olympic committee probe after Nassar scandal

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A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Wednesday called for an investigation into the handling of sexual misconduct allegations by the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, which have been criticized for not acting on complaints of abuse by former sports doctor Larry Nassar and others.

Nassar molested female athletes under the guise of medical treatment for nearly 20 years and has been given two prison sentences in Michigan of 40 to 125 years and 40 to 175 years. He is also serving a 60-year federal term for child pornography convictions.

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The senators’ announcement comes two days before the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to receive written explanations of the handling of sexual misconduct cases by USA Gymnastics (USAG) and other governing bodies of organized sports.

“There’s now significant bipartisan support for establishing a special committee charged with the sole focus of investigating the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics,” said Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who announced the resolution with Republican Senator Joni Ernst as co-sponsor.

Victims and their advocates have criticized the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and USAG for not acting on the complaints against Nassar, including a 2015 investigation. USAG’s board resigned under pressure from the USOC.

“There are many disturbing questions that remain unanswered as to how Larry Nassar was able to freely abuse young girls for decades,” Shaheen told reporters.

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Six Republicans and 12 Democrats have also signed onto the resolution to investigate the USOC, which operates under a federal charter. The Senate must vote on the resolution before a committee can be formed to hold an investigation.

While the House investigation is focused on sexual abuse in organized sport, the Senate investigation will look into the extent USAG and U.S. Olympics were complicit in the criminal or negligent behavior of their employees relative to sexual abuse.

A spokesman for Senator John Thune, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee that has been investigating Olympic sex abuse claims, said however that a select committee was unnecessary.

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The initial results from the House investigation are scheduled to be delivered on Friday.

USAG said on Wednesday it had set up a fund to give financial assistance for counseling for gymnasts who were victims of sexual abuse. The fund, the size of which was not disclosed, will be administered by a third party to ensure confidentiality, the group said.

(Reporting by Katanga Johnson and David Shepardson; Editing by Ben Klayman and Susan Thomas)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Chinese news site run in US hired Republican strategist to help them get in good with Trump and his supporters

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NBC News broke a huge story that detailed the way that the Chinese news website The Epoch Times has turned from their conservative conspiracy theories to promoting President Donald Trump and running ads for him on Facebook. But the reporter revealed in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Tuesday, that the site recently decided to begin running its own political operation.

She described the site like a kind of troll farm where the young "reporters" they hired are forced to churn out many articles each day. They've always been a conservative site that opposes things like homosexuality and pop music, but now they're hoping to capitalize on evangelicals.

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WATCH: Spike Lee tears into Trump for empowering white supremacy

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On Tuesday, director Spike Lee talked with CNN's Anderson Cooper about race, slavery, and President Donald Trump — and pulled no punches on any of it.

"I think that most woke historians would say that this country, the United States of America, was built upon the genocide of people and slavery. I mean, that's a fact," said Lee. "And I think that if we Americans came to study how this country started, we wouldn't be talking about kick immigrants out, you know, because if it wasn't — I mean, Native Americans, people brought here as slaves, everyone was immigrants. I woke up this morning and went on Instagram and felt my ancestors, not the only one saying this but I think it's a very important date today in American history."

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Trump’s ‘indefensible’ comments just made it ‘much much harder’ for GOP to win in 2020: Ex-RNC Chair

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President Donald Trump's latest anti-Semitic trope is going to make it "much much harder" for Republicans to hold control of the White House in 2020, the former chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC) explained on MSNBC on Tuesday.

Michael Steele was interviewed by MSNBC's Chris Matthews on "Hardball."

"There’s a long-respected leader of what's called Jewish Republicans, Matt Brooks -- I've known him for a long time -- this guy has the job of helping get votes, Republican votes, in the community, which generally votes Democrats," Matthews noted. "What is he going to deal with this baby, this assault on religious identity and trying to claim you must vote your group?"

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