Aly Raisman Named to Abuse Survivor Panel in USA Gymnastics Case

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By Daniel Gill

Nine former gymnasts including Olympian Aly Raisman will serve on a special committee representing sexual abuse victims in USA Gymnastics’ bankruptcy proceedings, the Justice Department official overseeing the case disclosed.

The U.S. Trustee, a Justice Department official charged with overseeing bankruptcy proceedings, created the Additional Tort Claimants Committee of Sexual Abuse Survivors in the Chapter 11 case filed Dec. 5 by USA Gymnastics.

The trustee filed a notice Dec. 19 naming the nine women who will represent the interests of survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by Larry Nassar during his tenure as a doctor for USA Gymnastics.

Nearly 500 girls and young women were sexually abused by individuals for whom USA Gymnastics was responsible, a group of survivors said in a court filing Dec. 9.

Other members of the committee include Rachel Denhollander, who was Nassar’s first public accuser, and Marcia Frederick Blanchette, the first American gymnast to win a gold medal at the world gymnastics championships.

Raisman served as captain of the U.S. Women’s gymnastics team in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and won at least six medals, three of them gold.

Often in Chapter 11 cases the U.S. Trustee will create an official committee of unsecured creditors. Here, the trustee noted that there was insufficient response to form that committee.

A creditors committee can act as a foil to the debtor, sometimes bringing claims against a debtor’s insiders that the debtor may not be motivated to pursue. They also are important for negotiating or litigating over a proposed plan of reorganization, sometimes even writing a plan of their own.

An important feature of such committees is that their lawyers and other professionals are compensated from the bankruptcy estate, subject to court approval, so the individual creditors don’t have to go out of pocket to be represented in a complex bankruptcy case.

The committee will select counsel, whose employment must be approved by the court.

The case is In re: USA Gymnastics, Bankr. S.D. Ind., 18-09108, Notice of Appointment 12/19/18.

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