THE BIG PICTURE: Ex-USA Gymnastics chief Steve Penny indicted

When former USA Gymnastics chief executive Steve Penny (pictured) declined to answer any questions last June from the U.S. Senate Commerce Sub-committee that was investigating the Larry Nassar sex-abuse scandal on self-incrimination grounds, he received some good advice.

Penny was indicted on 28 September by a Grand Jury in Walker County, Texas over the removal of documents from the Karolyi Ranch training facility in Huntsville. From the news release from District Attorney David Woods:

“According to the indictment, Steve Penny, the former president of USA Gymnastics, is alleged to have tampered with evidence during the investigation of sexual assault allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar. The indictment alleges that Penny ordered the removal of documents from the Karolyi Ranch in Walker County, Texas that were related to the activities of Nassar at the ranch. The indictment further alleges that the removal of the documents was done for the purpose of impairing the ongoing investigation by destroying or hiding the documents.

“During the investigation by the Texas Rangers and the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, several sources reported that Penny ordered the removal of the documents from the ranch after learning that an investigation was underway. The investigation revealed that the documents were delivered to Penny at the USAG Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. To date, those records have not been recovered and the location of the records is unknown. The Texas Rangers and the detectives believe that those records are material to their investigation and that the removal of the records by Penny prevented them from reviewing documents that would have helped in their investigation of Nassar as well as assisted with the investigation of other offenses that may have occurred at the Karolyi Ranch.”

The charge is a third-degree felony in Texas, punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Penny was arrested by U.S. Marshals while on vacation with his family in Tennessee on Wednesday.

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