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USA Gymnastics board leaders resign under pressure amid Larry Nassar furor

USA Gymnastics board Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley have resigned.

Three leaders of USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for the Olympic sport, resigned under pressure Monday after months of criticism stemming from the sex-abuse scandal over former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Hours later, USA Gymnastics announced it was suspending John Geddert, a close associate of Nassar and the coach of the 2012 women's Olympic Team. Four members of the team — Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney — have said they were molested by Nassar.

The developments came as scrutiny and criticism of USA Gymnastics exploded amid five days of emotional testimony in a Michigan courtroom by 124 women — many of them former gymnasts who trained at Geddert's club — who say they were sexually assaulted by Nassar.

The resignation of board of directors Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley came nearly 10 months after former president and chief executive Steve Penny was pushed out amid allegations he mishandled the Nassar allegations and other sex-abuse cases.

Mark Jones, a spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said top committee officials asked Parilla to step down at a Jan. 11 meeting in Colorado.

"We support their decisions to resign at this time," said USA Gymnastics' current president and CEO, Kerry Perry. "We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization.

"As the board identifies its next chair and fills the vacant board positions, we remain focused on working every day to ensure that our culture, policies and actions reflect our commitment to those we serve."

An attorney who represents more than 100 of Nassar's accusers in lawsuits against Nassar and USA Gymnastics said that while he welcomed the resignations, the entire board needs to be reconstituted.

"In speaking with some of our clients this morning, all of them wondered whether USAG will change the position they have taken in court that USAG had no duty to warn its member gymnasts even though they knew Larry Nassar was a molester," lawyer John Manly said.

"Until that happens, this move is simply a public relations ploy to save a sinking ship of an organization."

And Raisman tweeted that the shakeup was too little, too late. She demanded an independent investigation into who in the gymnastics world knew what and when about Nassar's predation.

USA Gymnastics did not provide a reason for its suspension of Geddert, who could not be reached for comment. But during Nassar's sentencing hearing, he was described as something of a tyrant who funneled patients to the doctor.

USA Gymnastics has been under fire since allegations against Nassar were first revealed by the Indianapolis Star in September 2016.

The organization, which selects the national and Olympic teams, is accused of trying to keep a lid on the scandal -- waiting five weeks to alert the FBI to a gymnast's complaint; failing to notify Michigan State University, where Nassar had a practice, that one of its doctors had been accused; and having Maroney sign a secrecy agreement as part of a settlement.

The leadership then failed to show up at a congressional hearing on its handling of abuse allegations. And an investigator hired by USA Gymnastics to examine its policies and practices found the federation needed a "complete culture change" in order to protect young athletes.

Related: Can MSU president survive gymnastics sex-abuse scandal?

The criticism gained momentum in recent months after Maroney revealed she had been molested, followed by disclosures from her 2012 "Fierce Five" teammates and 2016 gold-medalist Simone Biles.

Nassar's sentencing hearing, which began last week in Michigan and continues Tuesday, brought more attention to the accusations against USA Gymnastics.

In a fiery victim impact statement, Raisman told Perry she had inherited a organization that was "rotting from the inside."

"While this may not be what you thought you were getting into, you will be judged by how you deal with it," she said.

"A word of advice — continuing to issue empty statements of empty promises, thinking that will pacify us, will no longer work."

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A day earlier, USA Gymnastics had announced it was severing ties with the Karolyi Ranch, where it held training camps and where some gymnasts said they were molested by Nassar. Raisman said the announcement failed to note there were children training at the ranch that very day.

"U.S.A. Gymnastics, where is the honesty?" she continued. "Where is the transparency? Why must the manipulation continue?"