The former head of the U.S. Olympic Committee got a hefty severance package when he resigned in disgrace last year, even though he had failed to act in response to allegations of sexual abuse against former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
Scott Blackmun received a $2.4 million payout when he stepped down as CEO in February 2018, according to financial records the committee released Wednesday.
Blackmun, who resigned after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, learned in 2015 that Nassar had a history of molesting young athletes under the guise of medical treatment, an independent investigation revealed last year. But he failed to act, effectively covering up the scandal.
Investigators found that Blackmun deleted emails informing him of Nassar’s abuse. He also misled investigators about his handling of the situation, claiming to have held meetings that never actually happened.
The committee paid more than $5 million for the investigation, according to the newly released financial documents.
Nassar, who was convicted last year of sexually abusing more than 150 athletes while serving as an athletic doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The committee, recently renamed the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to include Paralympic athletes, has been engulfed in turmoil because of its poor handling of Nassar’s serial sexual abuse, as well as other alleged sexual abusers in Olympic sports.
“At that time, based on the requirement for new leadership to guide the organization forward, as well as Blackmun’s serious health challenges, the board approved a separation agreement, as provided for in his contract,” Susanne Lyons, who replaced Blackmun as head of the committee, said Wednesday in a statement.
John Manly, an attorney who has represented a number of the abuse survivors, blasted Blackmun’s payout as “despicable.”
“What kind of an organization gives somebody a multimillion-dollar bonus for protecting a child molester?” he told The New York Times Wednesday.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
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