USA Gymnastics CEO in wake of organization's sex abuse allegations

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - USA Gymnastics confirmed Thursday afternoon that Steve Penny is stepping down as CEO.

His resignation comes in the wake of claims the organization was slow to react to sex abuse allegations.

Their statement read, in full:

"For the past 18 years, it has been a privilege to serve the membership of USA Gymnastics. There will never be enough words to describe my tremendous respect for all of the athletes who put their hearts and souls into the sport of gymnastics every day, along with the coaches, club owners, volunteers, families, and other professionals that support them with honor.

"Throughout this time there have been many amazing moments along with challenges. My primary objectives over the last 12 years as CEO have been to raise the bar on how USA Gymnastics serves its athletes; to build relationships that provide resources to help the organization and its membership flourish; and to build a team effort that brought the sport together around common goals.

"Among the most important priorities has been Safe Sport. We all care deeply about the safety of our athletes, which is fundamental to a rewarding experience at any level of gymnastics. It has been heartbreaking to learn of instances of abuse and it sickens me that young athletes would be exploited in such a manner.

"I applaud the United States Olympic Committee for creating a broad SafeSport platform that has brought new awareness to the importance of this issue and provided a robust solution for the National Governing Bodies to demonstrate their passion for athlete protection. The U.S. Center for SafeSport establishes an important framework for every National Governing Body to strengthen its resolve against abuse. Everyone associated with USA Gymnastics will benefit from this advancement.

"My decision to step aside as CEO is solely to support the best interests of USA Gymnastics at this time.

"I want to thank everyone for their support over the years, especially those members who have provided thoughtful feedback as to how we could improve the organization. I am especially grateful to the USA Gymnastics staff and everyone who has served on the board of directors over the years. These incredible people have always acted in the best interests of the organization and challenged USA Gymnastics to seek improvements that would benefit the membership it served."

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