HOUSTON (CBSDFW/AP) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott has requested that the Texas Rangers launch an investigation into the recent allegations of athletes being sexually assaulted at a former USA Gymnastics training site.
Over the last few weeks and months, multiple athletes have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse while training at the Karolyi Ranch in Walker County.
“The public statements made by athletes who previously trained at the Karolyi Ranch are gut-wrenching,” Governor Abbott said in a written statement. “Those athletes, as well as all Texans, deserve to know that no stone is left unturned to ensure that the allegations are thoroughly vetted and the perpetrators and enablers of any such misconduct are brought to justice. The people of Texas demand, and the victims deserve, nothing less.”
USA Gymnastics announced on January 18 that it had terminated its agreement to have the ranch outside of Huntsville serve as the National Training Center for the women’s elite program. The decision came three days after Olympic champion Simone Biles expressed dismay at having to attend camps there, where Biles says she was sexually abused by a former national team doctor.
Kerry Perry, USA Gymnastics president and CEO, said it was her intent to have the women’s program leave the ranch when she began her tenure in December.
“Our most important priority is our athletes, and their training environment must reflect this,” Perry said in a statement. “We are committed to a culture that empowers and supports our athletes.”
The ranch is the home of former national team coordinator Martha Karolyi and her husband, Bela. USA Gymnastics initially agreed to buy the training facility in August 2016 but then backed out of the agreement following an investigation into sexual abuse by former national team doctor Larry Nassar, who worked with the organization for nearly three decades before stepping away in 2015.
Several Olympians — including Biles, 2012 Olympic champion Gabby Douglas, six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman and two-time medalist McKayla Maroney — say they were abused by Nassar, with some of the alleged abuse occurring at the facility.
Biles, who has returned to training after winning five medals at the 2016 Olympics, said in a statement released Monday that “it is impossibly difficult” to attend team camps at the ranch.
“It breaks my heart even more to think that as I work towards my dream of competing in Tokyo 2020, I will have to continually return to the same training facility where I was abused,” Biles wrote.
Nassar was sentenced last week to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: “I just signed your death warrant.”
Perry said the organization is exploring alternate sites until a permanent location is determined. USA Gymnastics canceled a team camp scheduled for later this month.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)