Ron Galimore resigns as COO of USA Gymnastics

One of the top executives and last high-ranking officials remaining from the pre-Larry Nassar scandal era at USA Gymnastics submitted his letter of resignation Friday.

Ron Galimore served as the chief operating officer of USA Gymnastics for the last seven years. Galimore, who has been a part of the organization for nearly a quarter century, worked closely with ousted CEO Steve Penny and was in a position of power during the time that USA Gymnastics allegedly mishandled complaints of sexual abuse made against Nassar, the convicted former Olympic doctor.

USA Gymnastics announced via its Twitter feed Friday that its board of directors accepted Galimore's resignation.

Galimore's departure comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Olympic Committee took initial steps to decertify USA Gymnastics as the national governing body for the sport. USOC president Sarah Hirshland criticized USA Gymnastics' leadership in announcing that initial step, telling gymnasts in an open letter: "You deserve better."

"[E]veryone now faces the difficult reality of belonging to a national organization that continues to struggle to change its culture, to rebuild its leadership and to effectively serve its membership," Hirshland wrote in her letter.

Two interim presidents have come and gone since Penny's resignation from the organization in March 2017 as public pressure grew while details came to light of Nassar's abuse and the missed opportunities to stop him. The organization's previous board of directors resigned en masse in January 2018 after a Michigan judge sentenced Nassar to up to 175 years in state prison for using his power as a doctor to abuse his young female patients.

Penny was arrested last month on charges of felony evidence tampering related to the Nassar case.

USA Gymnastics is named as one of several defendants in hundreds of civil lawsuits that claim the organization failed to respond properly to complaints about Nassar and missed chances to stop his abuse. According to emails first obtained by the Indianapolis Star, Galimore and other officials at USA Gymnastics were aware that Nassar was allowed to provide false excuses for why he was missing gymnastics tournaments while under investigation.

In the summer of 2015, USA Gymnastics began investigating complaints about Nassar after a coach overheard several gymnasts discussing one of their sessions with the doctor. Penny eventually reported those complaints to the FBI.

In the weeks that followed, Nassar corresponded with an attorney who agreed to Nassar's request that if anyone asked why he was missing from upcoming tournaments, they would respond that he was sick. The attorney told Nassar that Galimore would inform other members of the USA Gymnastics leadership to follow that suggestion.

Nassar left the organization for good in September 2015. He wrote an extended Facebook post explaining he was retiring of his own volition. No one from USA Gymnastics refuted that explanation, and he continued to see patients for another 11 months.

Several young women say Nassar abused them through his role as a doctor on Michigan State's campus during the time after he left USA Gymnastics.

Galimore, a former elite gymnast, was inducted into USA Gymnastics' hall of fame in 2016. He started working with the organization as the director of the men's program in 1994 and worked his way up into an executive leadership position in the early 2000s.