Governor Greg Abbott has called on the Texas Rangers to initiate an investigation into the sexual assault allegations at Karolyi Ranch, the famous US Olympic training center where some gymnasts said former team doctor Larry Nassar , had sexually assaulted them.
In a letter Tuesday to Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw, Abbott called the allegations at the ranch “deeply troubling” and the statements made by the athletes “heartbreaking.”
âThese athletes, and all Texans, deserve to know that nothing is being overlooked to ensure that allegations are carefully examined and that the perpetrators and facilitators of such misconduct are brought to justice,â Abbott said. “The people of Texas demand, and the victims deserve, nothing less.”
The Texas Rangers will work with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office to “thoroughly investigate all potential criminal behavior” at the ranch, which served as the national team training center for USA Gymnastics, the office said. governor in a written statement.
Abbott praised the sheriff’s office for its diligence in the investigation. The sheriff’s office confirmed last week that it had an investigation open into the ranch outside of Huntsville, but gave no details on the nature of the investigation or when it began.
The state medical board confirmed that Nassar was treating athletes at the Texas ranch without a medical license.
Michigan judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar last Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison after pleading guilty to several counts of sexual assault. Nassar, 54, had previously been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.
More than 150 women and girls have come forward to say that Nassar assaulted them under the guise of medical treatment. Many accusers have criticized the State of Michigan, USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee for not doing earlier to arrest Nassar.
Nassar’s allegations and condemnation, which sparked a storm throughout the gymnastics community, have trickled down to the university and the organizations that govern the sport.
A few days before the conviction, three members of the USA Gymnastics board of directors resigned. Hours after the decision, the US Olympic Committee called on all remaining members to step down.
The committee said it would pursue decertification if the organization “does not fully accept the necessary changes in its governance structure as well as other mandated changes under consideration at this time.”
In Michigan, where Nassar was a team doctor and associate professor, President Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis resigned after the conviction.
A number of companies have also severed ties with USA Gymnastics, including Dallas-based AT&T, which announced on Jan.23 that it was suspending sponsorship of the organization “until it is rebuilt and that we know that the athletes are in a safe environment. “
Under Armor also ended its sponsorship and Hershey, Kellogg and Procter & Gamble refused to renew the existing sponsorship, ESPN reported.
As for Karolyi Ranch, the facility will no longer serve as a national training center for the team. USA Gymnastics has decided to end his relationship with the ranch. Head coach of the National Women’s Team Valeri Liukin has offered one of its two gyms in Plano and Frisco as a temporary home.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.