The former chief executive and president of USA Gymnastics was arrested in Tennessee after a grand jury in Walker Texas, home of the Karolyi Ranch, indicted him on charges of tampering with evidence during the federal investigation of convicted sexual abuser and former sports physician Larry Nassar. The allegations against Steve Penny accuse him of ordering the removal of documents from the national team training center after the investigation began into Nassar’s behavior at the training center. The charge comes one year after Perry resigned as president from the USAG amid sexual abuse allegations against Nassar. The two leaders of the Olympic training facility, Bela and Martha Karolyi, have declared their innocence of culpability for Nassar’s abuses and have not been charged in connection with any crime or conspiracy surrounding the sexual abuse scandal.
The statement cited in the indictment claims that Penny ordered the destruction of the documents “for the purpose of impairing the ongoing investigation by destroying or hiding the documents.” Law enforcement officials have not yet recovered the documents sent to Penny’s office in Indianapolis. If Penny is found guilty of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, he faces up to ten years in prison. Penny’s attorney, Edith Matthai, stated early Thursday that “Mr. Penny is confident that when all the facts are known the allegations against him will be disproven.”
Penny resides in suburban Indianapolis, but was on vacation with his wife and three daughters when he was detained by U.S. marshals. His attorney claims that “If Mr. Penny had any idea he was sought in Texas this would have been appropriately handled through counsel. Mr. Penny has not and would not have attempted to avoid the service of a summons.”
Currently, Steve Penny is in custody in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and awaits to be extradited to Walker County, Texas in the coming days.