tv Sexual Abuse of Olympic Amateur Athletes CSPAN June 5, 2018 8:00pm-10:57pm EDT
then a democratic congressman from rhode island talks about democratic messaging heading into the midterm election. watch "washington journal",ive 7:00 a.m. eastern on wednesday morning. joined the discussion. >> tonight on c-span2, a senate hearing on the sexual abuse of olympic athletes, tina smith delivers her first floor speech. senator, elizabeth warren talks about the trump administration of deregulation. >> at a senate hearing on the sexual abuse of olympic catholics, former usa gymnastics president, steve penney invoked his fifth amendment right not to testify. the former teen dr. of the program, larry nasser has been convicted of sexual abuse of athletes while employed by michigan state university. the former msu president and the
former usa gymnastics program director did testify at this commerce subcommittee hearing. this is just under three hours. >> good afternoon. i called the story to order. earlier this year, the subcommittee launched an investigation to examine cultural and systemic problems regarding abuse in the olympic movement. the subcommittee, which exercises jurisdiction over the u.s. olympic committee and amateur sports is fully committed to ensuring the health and safety of all american athletes, today it marks the second hearing in our investigation. we begin the process in january following th disgusting revelats that former usa gymnastics team dr., larry nasser sexually abused hundreds of athletes over two decades, even after numerous survivors alerted authorities about his actions. as we know, many of our american
olympians who stood tell representing our nation in this national stage were suffering behind the scenes. their stories break our hearts and all of the athletes who have shared them are to be commended for their courage. i know i speak for me and senator blumenthal when i express our thanks to the many survivors were personally met with us throughout this investigation. we are grateful to have four abuse survivors across different olympic sports trainer subcommittee panel in april, to share their experiences and recommendations on what congress should do to make sure that athletes are protected from predators. we are joined by several athletes today, and i thank them for their continued interest encourage demonstrated throughout this investigation. today's hearings marks the next
step in our investigation. in order to make recommendations that will be effective and meaningful a driving change in the olympic movement so that athletes can freely participate in their sports without fear of abuse. it is important to understand how this happened, who knew about the abuse, when did they know, what did they do with the information, and a portly, why. to that end, we have sought extensive information from organizations. we've requested and received additional documentation from governing bodies on their policies and procedures reporting handling and combating abuse as well as the athlete nondisclosure agreements. unfortunately, for four years removed from the first michigan state university and nasser allegations, three years after usa gymnastics coach first heard of the abuse, there are many questions that remain unanswered.
my hope and desire is that the witnesses here today can help answer these questions, provide us with a perspective on what went wrong, and offer their advice on how it can be prevented from happening again. jane and us today is steve penney, the former president of the usa gymnastics, rhonda fame, the usa gymnastics former president and women's program tractor, and doctor lou anna simon, former president of michigan state university. two additional witnesses were invited to participate but were unable to come due to medical conditions. scott blackman, and marta caroli the former team coordinator from usa gymnastics. they will respond to written questions for the record. we are honored to welcome senators joni ernst of iowa and jeanine shaheen of new hampshire to provide open testimony
senators ernst and jeanine have taken an interest in the olympic movement. their testimony will be valuable in helping us raise awareness and identify solutions. thank you both for your time that y have taken to prepare them for your presence here this afternoon. most imporntly,or your care and concern for athletes today. i will conclude my remarks by reminding my colleagues that in light of mr. penny and doctor simon, subpoenas were issued requiring their attendance today. through their counsel, they have made it clear they would not appear voluntarily on june 5, or any other day going forward. i wish that were not the case, since issuing subpoenas is something this committee take seriously and only pursues as a last resort.
despite the circumstances, i appreciate their presence today and i look forward to a productive hearing on this important matter. with that, i will turn to the ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you, senator moran. my thanks to senator moran for his leadership in his partnership in this profoundly important effort to uncover the truth about a chapter in american athletics that really is a nightmare. it is a nightmare of grooming, manipulating, stigmatizing, and abusing young athletes, not only in gymnastics, but in swimming, figure skating, speedskating. not just buy one horrible person, larry nasser, but an ongoing chapter in american
athletics that needs to be fully explored and exposed. i also want to thank senator boone and senator nelson, for their support in this efforts. my deepest thanks to the survivors who have come forward and who are the real heroes of this nightmare who have lived it again, again, and again. at the trial of larry nasser, at the hearings of this committee, at their public statements, their courage and strength is inspiration that drives us forward. i want to express my deep disappointment in the witnesses that we have today, and others, who bear a responsibility, a direct and profound responsibility for what happened here. their lack of population speaks volumes about the need for our continued investigation.
clearly, larry nasser, groom, manipulated and stigmatized nearly 260 women in young girls under the guise of medical treatment and in his capacity as the dr. for team usa. there are likely many more victims. his crimes are unparallele unpan there's scope. moters le him have been hiding in plain sight for decades at usa gymnastics, and the national governing bodies overseen by the united states olympic committee. across numerous olympic sports, stories of young athletes suffering physically, emotionally, and sexually from abuse proven undeniable reality.
but, the governing bodies of the sports bear a very serious responsibility. the reason we are here today is to begin, and it is to only to begin to hold them accountable. what i have seen over these past months is chronic ineptitude and leadership. i have seen institutional complicity. in fact, a culture of complicity and chaos. these documents reveal a governing system that lacks a proactive preventative policy, clear chain of command, and victim centered services. that system is crippled by its own bureaucratic red tape. there is an efficiency and failure of individuals to take action. a willful blindness that is inexcusable and unconscionable.
it is more than one person, it is more than one governing body, it is a set of institutions, administrative policies and procedures of the usoc, view sag, and the msu that enabled larry nasser. there are other monsters out there who are continuing to violate fundamental rights. the repugnant scheme of larry nasser was enabled by these policies, or lack of responsibility. countless others continue to prey on young athletes because of that lack of leadership and accountability. we have seen thus far, nothing but an abundance of finger-pointing, blame shifting, stone walling from officials in
those organizations. the evidence of leadership, lack of leadership is clearly, deeply troubling to me. i am hopeful for a renewed commitment from all the olympic organizations. what we really need is changes in the system. it is not enough to just repaint the house, it needs to be built. with that, i turned back to the chairman. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. let me do what you did, which was express my gratitude to senator nelson to support the subcommittee's work. and the assistance of the process that occurred in the searing. i recognize the ranking member from florida. >> kudos to you mr. chairman and senator blumenthal.
several of us agreed to the subpoena because it is necessary this is for congress to exercise its authority to compel a witness. because of the gravity of the situation, we are always going to have sick people who will try to harm our children. but, we can exercise our authority and trying to hold sports organizations accountable so that they c e appropriate ccd safety protocols that can prevent predators from being successful. we can hold individuals accountable to do not prioritize the safety and well-being of our young athletes.
i am reminded of some of the bad things that we heard that happened at the caroli branch. where our gymnast were trained and many of the abuse to place. reports indicate that environment was anything but safe. terrible, physical emotional, and sexual abuse to place there. mr. chairman, if i am able to return, i may not be able to return at the end of the hearing, but i want to put on the record a question to mrs. fame, that because of the abuse that took place at the
ranch, since she was an administrator and former gymnast who trained at the ranch, i wanted to get her to answer directly, did she know about the alleged abuse? was there ever an an attempt if nasser was there at the same time, was she ever attempted to be abused? why the caroli branch? there are allegations that gymnast were threatened and withheld food and nourishment in order to get them to do what they wanted in these crimes. that is totally unacceptable. another thing, the parents of
the athletes were reportedly not welcome at the monthly training camps at the ranch and cannot even stay in the same hotels with their children. let's be clear, we are talking about children. we are talking about some as young as ten years old. how could this have happened to these young athletes? they gave their all to pursue the dream of winning olympic gold. they put their trust in their coaches and, their trainers, physicians, and staff. in return, they were abused. it is tragic. we hear a lot about ptsd coming home from iraq and afghanistan,
there are emotional scars for these victims as well. it is downright shameful that the usa olympic sports has a stain that is going to take some time to shed. thanks to you for holding the hearing. that is why are here today. we are here to ensure that those currently pursuing their dreams as an olympic athlete, and those that follow them are not going to have to into where this kind of abuse. it is my hope, mr. chairman, that eventually we will hear open, public testimony fmhe u.s. olympic committee. i want to hear what the usoc new
and will how the officials responded. i would also like to hear how the usoc is adopting reforms to protect current athletes and how the organization is conducting oversight over governing bodies such as usa gymnastics. the usoc can no longer play a passive role on these matters. thank you. >> thank you senator nelson. this topic has created a lot of care and concern for my colleagues. i hear this question about the committee's work when i am home in kansas. particularly by parents of young gymnasts. here, in the united states senate, we are pleased to have senators ernst and senator shaheen join us. they are at the forefront of efforts to bring this story to light and seek congressional action. i highlight the work of senators feinstein and senator i want con
appropriate role in reaching a resolution and how do we protect those young men and women who were athletes in our country. i now recognize senator ernst for her statement. >> thank you very much chairman moran. thank you for giving us the opportunity to testify today. i want to thank senator shaheen for joining me to discuss the importance of ensuring a safe environment for our athletes. like many americans, i was horrified to hear of the crimes committed by larry nassar, usa gymnastics doctor, who abused hundreds of athletes. the actions of this man and the individuals and institutions
that facilitated and protected his behavior are reprehensible. they also point to wider cultural issues within the amateur athletic community. it was a failure at all levels, and symptomatic about her problems facing our society on sexual assault, rape, harassment, and abuse. the types of failures are the reason i have worked with my colleagues in congress on reforms to ensure sexual misconduct across the society is reported, responded to, and taken seriously, and ideally prevented. i was previously a volunteer counselor at a crisis center that provided shelter and support to survivors of abuse and sexual assault. i heard stories of men and women playing domestic abusers. separate not just physically but
emotionally, and spiritually. i took also outlined people who had been raped and sexually abused. abuse like this is not something that you can just simply forget. it stays with you. these survivors lives have been forever altered. it is through this lens that i come before you today. i want to focus on three said congress should consider when investigating this tragedy. first, we must take survivors story seriously and ensure they are heard. like you, we have heard the terrible accounts for victims of doctor nassar. one of the most risk parts of the story is that when the athletes reported the abuse to those they trust it, people within their university, their gymnastics club, olympic leadership, or people their parents paid to grow them into strong and healthy athletes, there shut down, ignored, and told there was nothing to see here.
one athlete, pond reported her abuse was told, quote, she was fortunate to receive the best medical care possible from a world renowned dr.. another reported that she was told she must have misunderstood what was going on. officials created false excuses to cover up larry nassar's absence for his shameful behavior. this breaks my heart and angers me, as these men and women, and often times children, carry this burden for many years with no help from those they trusted. even more maddening, is that these organizations rake in millions of dollars per year and enjoy tax-exempt status. second, we have to examine the underlying factors that allowed this is to occur. answering questions like, who
knew what? what disincentives existed within the olympic committee that cause people to choose an action went bad things happen? there were some halfhearted attempts to institute accountability was the only have started to crumble. this was too late, the damage was done. wire from, when people see something going wrong, they do something, they don't pass the buck. we listen, we act, and we help one another. there people within the olympic committee that felt it was not the responsibility to report abuse, or claim that liability prevented them from acting. ethics, morals, and a sense of human dignity demand people to do better. instead, abusers were given more responsibility, more prestige, more autonomy, more cover. this problem is not limited to larry nassar.
there has been developed a culture in the olympics which prioritizes winning medals over the health and welfare of the athlete. usoc recognizes in their letter in january. they stated that, we must change the culture of the sport. third, we must take action to address inefficiencies in the system. today's hearing will give witnesses an opportunity to explain themselves and get honest answers. when we called on ceo, scott blackman to resign, we viewed that as the beginning of a long sentence of holding olympic leadership accountable. i'm concerned that despite the intention, too much of the old culture persist. the committee has done much work to address these issues, including the save sport authorization act which i cosponsor. i think the less it's a good framework which will be beneficial to our athletes and
guardrails to protect them. additionally, we introduced legislation in january calling for special committee to investigate. in conclusion, these athletes represent our great nation on the world stage. their call to embody american ideals of sportsmanship, hard work, and integrity. this negative underbelly of olympus sport jeopardizes the ideals and makes a mockery of the hard work athletes print to succeed. many children grow up admiring olympic athletes. dreaming that one day they too could be on the podium. i want that dream to live on for generations to come, but there's much work that must be done. thank you, i appreciate the opportunity. >> thank you. senator shaheen, thank you for joining us. i look for to your statement. >> thank you chairman.
thank you for your efforts to highlight the failures of the u.s. olympic committee and others to prevent and stop the sexual abuse of our young athletes. in january 24, usa gymnastics doctor, larry nassar, was sentenced for up to 175 years in prison. it was a cathartic moment for his victims in the nation. it was a moment of only partial justice, not only lee all organizations responsible for predatory acts have been held to account. because the olympic committee operates under federal charter, it's athletes compete under the american plague, i believe strongly this senate has a responsibility to investigate
any misconduct on the usoc in the governing body. that is why i joined was senator joni ernst to have a special committee to provide an independent and comprehensive inquiry into what has been called, the worst sex abuse scandal in the history of sports. it is also why i appreciate the important work being done for this committee, to ensure the individuals of these horrible crimes are hel accountable, and safeguards are put in place to protect our athletes. in january, we had the privilege of meeting three of the women who courageously testified that larry nassar sentencing. we think these women for speaking out and advocating for reforms to protect young athletes from abuse. in turn, they stressed to us the importance of exposing the full scope of the sex abuse scandal at usoc and other organizations.
congress must be resolved not to fail these women the way so many officials have failed them in the past. olympic and amateur athletes represent a vulnerable population for sexual abuse. the intense competitive nature and the sports they participate, and to begin at a young age, creates eddie environment that individual such as larry nassar are able to exploit. usoc short its responsibility to these young athletes and it continues to be less than forthcoming in exposing past abuses. usoc, usa gymnastics, and others must be held accountable in their failures brought to light. the fact that there were good people working at usoc, only underscores the need to account for these failures. the larry nassar scandal has
brought to light disturbing allegations of sexual abuse that extend beyond one man and implicate individuals in sports such as tae kwon do, speedskating, and cycling. we have also seen reports indicating that in many respects, usoc's priorities are at odds with those of their athletes. their financial showing an organization that generates nearly $340 million in revenue. in 2016, they gave a meager 8% of those revenues directly to athletes. olympic athletes received a small fraction of these revenues. usoc has spent about 6 million on top executives including a salary close to $1 million for the ceo. and to pay 129 employees, $120,000 or more per year tram
per year. these exorbitant salaries exist at the same time athletes have had to sue the committee for inadequate compensation and run their own gofundme campaign to get to the olympics. this suggests an organization who have lost side of the core mission. these reports and the more heinous once of sexual abuse make it difficult to understand what congress is sanctioning a flawed entity that has failed so many of our athletes. it is clear that usoc is not filling its mission to support and protect olympic athletes. i believe congress should consider revoking or rewriting usoc's charter to include more oversight. the new charter should state clearly that any future scandals will result in usoc losing its charter and the tax-exempt status.
the new charter should also require them to give 50% of its revenues directly to athletes and teams. again, i reiterate that i appreciate the work this committee and others are doing on this issue. i hope your efforts wil help to ensure the safety and security of athletes now and in the future. thank you. >> thank you both for your care and concern. thank you for your request and encouragement and instructions. not call the next panel of witnesses. >> we recall to the table miss rhonda fame. women's program director at usa gymnastics. mr. steve penney, and doctor lou anna simon.
>> look for to your testimony. you are welcome to make your opening statement for 25 minutes. >> chairman moran, ranking member blumenthal, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. my name is rhonda bain. i received a phone call from a coach about the concerns of the gymnasts she was coaching. the gymnasts had experience with the coach described as
uncomfortable encounters a therapeutic doctor larry nassar, a member of the medical team staff. after my for the inquiry, the coach disclosed that she had heard that two other gymnast she did not coach personally may have been on comfortable with nassar. i immediately found in reported these concerns to steve penney. i was assured he would contact the coach, the parents, the proper authorities. within one month from receiving that initial call, i received two additional reports of gymnast expressing concerns about nassar's therapy. i followed the same protocol and immediately notified penny each time, who assured me he was contacting the parents of the gymnast and the proper authorities. each time, i immediately reported these incidents, as told by penny not to say anything to anyone for fear of possibly impeding any investigation of nassar.
i was not aware of delay in contacting authorities or efforts to misinform any one of the reasons for nassar's departure from usa gymnastics. i tried to protect the gymnast by making sure i immediately reported what i learned from those who contacted me. there is no question that better systems of reporting need to be in place. i truly hope this occurs going forward and i can still find a place to make a positive contribution. my goal and immediately reporting complaints to my superior usa gymnastics was, and always has been, to protect and care for the athletes i served. after being fired from my dream job without warning or explanation, i was surprised, hurt, confused, and feel i am being falsely blamed for the alleged deficiencies of usa gymnastics. more currently, i feel a deep sense of loss, sympathy, sadness, and compassion for the victims of nassar.
on who my most sincere loyalties have always been focused on his concerns should have been reported to law-enforcement authorities at the earliest possible moment, as i assumed was being done at the time, and as i would have done, had i known then what i know now. gymnastics has been my life's passion since i was eight years old. that is the age when i started at a small club in minnesota. at age 14, moved away from my family to texas to tin with bella caroli. i progressed rapidly through the ranks becoming a world-cla elite gymnast routine usa. competing for country at international competitions including the pan-american games, world championships, and
an alternate for the 1988 olympic games in south korea. after my time on the team, i earned a scholarship to ucla. it was there under my coach that i wanted to make a positive impact on athletes. after competing for ucla, i worked as a student assistant coach for two years, that is when my lightbulb moment occurred. my purpose came into focus, i wanted to help young women achieve their goals and dreams. i spent 19 years coaching ncaa division i gymnastics. thirteen of those years were spent as head coach of the university of florida, where i led teams to three back-to-back and cah championship titles. i sleep with hard-working intelligence the athletes will shine, and they did. during this time, i realize the greatest gift i could give was compassion and understanding. i was able to relate to and understand what the athletes
were going through. i had lived it. the primary reason i decided to accept a position with usa gymnastics was to recommit my heart, energy and passion to really gymnastics. i felt the time was right to take what i had learned to help out and care for u.s. athletes. i determined my life had come full circle and i spent call to the usa gymnastics to be an advocate. a compassionate voice to make an impact, to helping positivity to what is often times it an intense and stressful environment. many, throughout the community and including those who wrote character reference letters, which are attached to this written testimony is appendix one, strongly believe i was successful in my endeavors. thank you for your intention and to work for to find solutions
system attracte tragedies nevern again, and for helping the survivors heal. i would appreciate the opportunity to discuss ideas to help promote the safety and security of our gymnasts, and what is necessary to implement culture change. thank you. >> thank you. now, mr. penny. >> thank you senator. i do not have an opening statement. >> thank you. now doctor simon. >> i want to thank you for taking this investigation and holding the hearing to better protect the safety of athletes. i must comment that i was prepared to come on your hearing on may 22, voluntarily, paper plane tickets and hotel. unfortunately, my attorney, had a conflict today with an appeals
court and also had to postpone the funeral for his sister, so we had a date conflict. i hope you do not interpret the subpoenas mean not be prepared to come and talk to. >> we are glad to have you here. >> before i begin my testimony, i want to say to the survivors, i am truly sorry for the abuse he suffered, the pain it caused, and the panic continues to cause today. i served as president of the university until january this year now president emeritus. ip my own behalf not to speak with the university. i spent my career devoted to michigan state, nearly 45 years i saw it grow. 6000 faculty and over 7000 other employees. we must remain proud of what they have accomplished i'm here because of the unspeakable crime
of one former employee, larry nassar. he damaged the lives of so many innocent survivors. it is clear now that he let a double life, including everyone around him. i'm horrified that his crimes happened during my tenure. i did not know he was abusing young woman told former gymnast filed her complaint 2016. had i know, i would've taken immediate action from letting him play and others. including terminating his employment and turning him into place. not a day goes by that wishes he had been caught punish sooner. not a day goes by that i wonder what we could've done to detect his evil before the complaints.
after we receive the complaint, he was fired. even before the investigations were completed we took a variety of steps to ensure safety. we change supervision of sports medicine, we launched i a review of the clinics. with my full support, we initiated mediation of survivors. that eventually resulted in the current settlement in $5 million with more than 330 survivors including 31 known to the msu students. i recognize that resolving litigation and providing monetary compensation is but one step in a long journey. i'm hopeful it allows survivors to focus on healing and recovery. in the investigation i insisted the university and personnel fully cooperate. the board of trustees conducted
a separate review, that investigation is ongoing. the allegation about nasser surface, we became to law firms to ensure his cooperation with law enforcement. a critical part of that effort is that firms were passed with the underlying facts a report of those to the university. we directed the firms to report to msu and law-enforcement any evidence that anyone, other than nassar new of the criminal behavior and did anything to conceal or facilitate it. it is my understanding no such conduct has been identified. following the discovery of the crimes that we did an independent review of title ix. that included our policies were, prehensile and robust.
the university devoted its efforts to improving and enhancing our programs, policies and procedures, nassar was able to prance survivors under the guise of medical treatment. to the survivors, i can never say enough that i'm sorry but i trusted physician turned out to be an evil predator. i'm sorry we did not discover this and remove it sooner. it is my hope from these events. in the end, the most important legacy will be how msu, usga and gymnastics and the steps we take to prevent sexual abuse. it will require new policies, procedures and leadership, and also result from the community stimulate the courage of the survivors to speak up and take responsibility when they see injustice. i'll be happy to answer questions. >> thank you, dr.. i will begin with questions it
will be a five-minute brown by members of the committee. i'll begin with you mr. penny. you were the ceo of usa gymnastics from april 5, 2005 until your resignation on march the 16th, 2017, that correct? >> yes. >> former gymnastics dr., larry nassar was convicted of criminal sexual conduct with gymnast, including members of the national team. my understanding is you are informed of this on june 17, 2015, is that correct? >> mr. chairman, with respect to you and your question in the committee, i have been instructed by my attorney to assert my rights under the fifth amendment to the constitution, which according to the united states supreme court protects innocent men who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous
circumstances with truthful responses of a witness may provide the government with evidence from the speakers on the, with which it was somehow use against him. for that reason, based upon the advice of my attorney, i must respectfully decline to answer your question. >> let me ask you this, after being informed about the abuse, your arrange for private investigation. how did that private investigation come about? my understanding is that you waited 41 days to contact law-enforcement, is that correct? >> again, mr. chairman respectfully i would like to answer question, however i've been by my attorney to use my rights under the fifth amendment. i respectfully decline to answer the question. >> did you, mr. penny on
july 29, after larry nassar was relieved from his duties, ever contact michigan state university or other employers of larry nassar to inform him of allegations of abuse? >> again, mr. chairman, i would like to answer your question. however, i've been instructed by my attorney to serve my rights under the fifth amendment of the constitution. based upon my advice of the attorney, i respectfully decline to answer question. >> let me turn to senator blumenthal for questions. >> thank you. mr. penny, respect your right to invoke your fifth amendment privilege. you have that right. you also have a responsibility. you are part of an organization that, in effect prioritize meddlesome money over the young women and girls, some were
sexually abused by mr. nasser. in fact, in the absence of your testimony, documents will speak for you. we have documents that indicated that as early as 2013, you had questions about larry nassar. in fact, in one of those memos that you wrote to alan ashley, of the united states olympic committee, you said quote, if larry nassar is the gatekeeper, then we have a real issue. what was the reason you said that, at that point? >> senator, thank you for the question. i would like to answer. however, i've been instructed by my attorney to assert my rights under the fifth amendment to the constitution. based upon the advice of my attorney, i respectfully decline to answer your question.
>> another of those documents dated july 9, 2014 from ron gallimore to larry nassar, refers to a quote code of silence. and this indicates that you knew about it. would you explain to this committee what part you had in either beginning or enforcing a court of silence that prevented young athletes coming forward and complaining about abuse fear retaliation? >> senator, once again, i would like to answer your question. however, been instructed by my attorney to serve my rights under the fifth amendment of the constitution. which according to the united states supreme court protect
innocent men who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances and truthful responses of an innocent witness it may provide the government with evidence from the speakers on the widget would somehow use against him. that reason, based upon the advice of my attorney, i must respectfully decline to answer question. >> one final question. you are part of an organization, the united states gymnastics, that in effect, gave larry nassar that badge of trust that he violated, and a trust that usa gymnastics violated. don't you feel you have responsibility for the athletes were here today, and others around the country, more than 260 of them, to be more forthcoming?
>> respectfully, senator. i would like to answer your question. however i have been instructed by my attorney to invoke my rights of the fifth amendment. based upon the advice of my attorney, i respectfully decline to answer your question. >> thank you. >> mr. penny, may i assume that it is your intention to invoke that privilege and further questioning. >> yes. >> let the record reflect that you have availed yourself the privileges under the fifth amendment to not give testimony that would incriminate you. the indication of that does not will not imply guilt. the respective rights not answer questions on that ground, although we certainly would have liked to hear from you today. you are now excused.
>> miss faehn, by did you sag not notify or disclose to michigan state number clubs that he was relieved of all of his duties. by not notifying, nassar continued to remain in contact which exposed interviews for an additional 14 months. >> tank you, senator moran. i do not know the answer to that. i was always just told that i was not to discuss anything because it was under an active
investigation, and that if anything if i were to discuss it could possibly be the investigation. i was not aware of where else larry nassar worked. again, i started in may 2015, i have never met him face-to-face. i do not know, i cannot speculate as to what mr. penny did, only that i immediately reported every concern to him. >> i read your testimony, i heard what you said today. is mr. penny the only person you reported these allegations are faxed to? >> these allegations of abuse. is he the only person you ported to. >> yes, he was my boss did he
convey to you and a response different in your testimony about what was to happen? >> he would indicate that each time he was going to contact the parents of the athletes and the appropriate or authorities. >> to know that happened? >> i do not know. it is challenging for what i read after the fact, that i did not know that. >> did any communication come to, other than mr. penny in regard to an fbi investigation? >> no, i do not believe so.
when he said investigator or proper authorities, i assumed it was some sort ofaw enforcement. in m testimony, when i was asked to pick up an athlete and her mother from the airport because she was going to be meeting with the fbi the next day, that is where it stayed with me. >> your knowledge of any investigation, who may have performed that investigation, secondhand from the conversation you had with the gymnast on her mother. >> correct. i was not aware. i did not know about the private investigation, or even the name of the investigator until, well,
in november of 2016. >> who was mr. penny's boss? >> i believe that would be the board of directors. >> and you had no communication with them? >> no. >> you have any understand of why usa gymnastics would've employed a nondisclosure agreement to silence gymnast? >> no, sir. in fact, i found out about that by reading it on the internet. >> you stated in your testimony that you would like to be a part of the solution that prevents the tragic harm that has occurred. you were high-level executive within u.s. ag, it is hard to say that you played a substantial role in the culture that the athletes were subjected to during their training and competitions. is that a fair statement?
>> no, sir, i do not believe that. i would say that what i was trying to do for the last two or three years i was there, was absolutely to everything possible to help the athletes in the very difficult times. i knew how challenging it was and how stressful it is, and how much damage there could be an has been along the way for a lot of athletes emotionally, physically. i wanted every athlete to feel that they were believed in, that you do not have to win, if you finish 21st championships, i wanted them to know that they were a tremendous success.
>> the allegations from many survivors is that there is a culture that was damaging to them. is that your view? there was a culture damaging to them? >> absolutely. there was different times stretch of gnostics for each and every time. there were very difficult situations. >> how would you respond to an assertion that you had a chance to keep these athletes a, and failed by allowing that culture to keep athletes silent through their continued abuse? >> senator, i would say that the first thing i did when i found out that an athlete was potentially uncomfortable, was that no one should feel uncomfortable, no matter what.
that was going to be reported. everything i did from that moment, and after was to look after and try to protect the athletes at every moment. i still continued to, while we were without a president, without a national team coordinator, i refused to leave the athletes and would do anything to help them. >> my final question at the moment is, you are no longer employed by usa gymnastics. which your testimony be any different today if you are still an employee of usa gymnastics? >> no, sir it would not. >> senator blumenthal. yo firing happened after noirma.
warning, never a negative review by usa gymnastics, correct? >> that is correct. >> is it your belief that usa gymnastics specifically were afraid you would divulge information that could put that organization in a bad light? >> i do not want to speculate on what her thought may have been, or what was going through her mind. i can only speak to the timing of the event. it was directly in the middle of an active national team training camp. our only one of the year. >> given the timing, is it
possible that your firing was part of an effort to impact your testimony, even to silence you? >> i really do not know. i do know they also just returned from mediation talks. >> let me ask you a question that we have had. much of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse occurred over the years at the caroli ranch as
a former executive of usa gymnastics and someone who trained at the ranch, no doubt you are familiar with the environment and practices. to know about any alleged abuse of athletes at the caroli ranch? >> i never did train there. it was a little different. we did not have that system. we do not have national team camps when i was on the national team there. it was just starting to be built at that time. i am not aware of any abuse that it happened there. . .
therapies that larry nasser was doing and i felt absolutely was something that needed on -- a concern that needed to be reported to steve penny. >> are you aware of a meeting that occurred between the current president and one of the athlete that met with him who was told, specifically kaylee, who is in the audience, he looked directly at me and right now if i wrote you a check for $250,000 would you take it? when i explained is not about the many that i just want to help you said then give me a
number and im asking if you are aware that clearly mr. engler was offering money for potential silence? [inaudible] >> would you have made that kind of offer? >> we tried to sustain the mediation process is appropriate with litigation and we are greatly enhance by the voices of the gymnasts and other survivors. it is important to hear and hear loudly their experiences. >> as the former president of michigan state university would you have taken a beating with plaintiff with the ongoing litigation as the
president of michigan state being the defendant would you have taken the meeting with that young woman? >> not to make an offer for a settlement agreement. >> thank you for holding this hearing and your continued work and for amateur athletics but i hope that these hearings are recently enacted bipartisan legislation for u.s. center for safe sports in positions of authority how you respond for the abuse child
these reforms are only happening now because the brave athletes did up to callout wrongdoing and not until we understand what has happened to prevent similar incidents in the future. and then to have that settlement in principle totaling $500 million million dollars for survivors. the size of the compensation fund certainly grabbed headlines but it has since been reported it is merely an agreement principle with the key details unresolved. for instance how msu plans to pay for the settlement fund whether there will be an independent administrator or how they will evaluate the eligibility of claims and how
it intends to handle claims from pending lawsuits. >> i do not i am no longer involved. >> if no longer involved in these discussions -- decisions than how can you take credit for the settlement fund in your testimony? >> i said i initiated the discussions in november and a good faith and i am pleased that it occurred. it is not my intent to take credit. i am simply stating the fact. >> ms. faehn by the way i am glad you agreed to appear as a witness because i think your perspective into operations throughout the t9 scandal and its aftermath makes your testimony especially valuable we have heard extensive testimony how mr. nasser's
crimes have disrupted perhaps permanently in the lives of the athletes he betrayed and i'm curious to get your thoughts on the impact of the scandal on the sport more broadly. including on athletes that never met larry nasser. how are young gymnasts processing all of this, what is the impact on training? morale? spirit trust? >> so for those current athletes those that never experienced larry nasser this is a very challenging time for them wanting to live out their dreams and goals and opportunity that is being challenged.
and i cannot even begin to fathom what our incredible athletes that were victims of this disgusting crime have to go through and live daily. and feeling someone that was trusted it was incredibly difficult as well and never real is incredibly challenging and then to compete on behalf of the usa. and with the understanding that there is that time of the window is very short and at
the same time the most important thing that they need to understand that there has to be safety in place with significant changes and has to be education with changes within the culture for this to move forward and to not brush it aside to say we have a new organization and moving forward we have to learn and listen and that is the only way that is the only way to get through this.
>> in 2014 a patient made a a complaint to michigan state university regarding a visit with doctor larry nasser referred to the university office investigation was conducted in the complaint was reported to the michigan state police they said no violation of the sexual harassment policy of the university. given what we know now that could have prevented her view so why did they not uncover abuse and what you have been done differently? >> the case involved in adult as i understand it not an allegation of penetration. it was referred to the msu police to the prosecuting attorney and there was no charge. hindsight in 2016 clearly there were things that may
have been warning signs but at the time the information available to the investigator they did their best to deal with it fairly. >> in response to the lawsuit filed in michigan usa gymnastics argued it did not have a legal obligation to alert other employers about doctor larry nasser abuse including michigan state university given other employers concerns that have been raised about athlete safety so do you believe have an obligation to report? >> yes the policy has been changed to reflect that. >> michigan state hired a formal federal prosecutor kurt to assist with the athlete abuse this will be used to make recommendations to the
university going forward but the report is kept internal so why is it kept internal and do you think that could be useful for other universities have made public? >> if i might with your permission just go back over something i said earlier if the senator was not here. >> i have limited time. >> the law firms were hired october 2016 to facilitate all of the police investigations it is my hope that we would be an agent for seeking justice for what did happen but the second task was to look at the litigation in the third half was to be the aggressive factfinder in terms.
>> i do have limited time. >> so we have that report so the board of trustees engage with the michigan attorney general. >> so why it has to be internal? why can't it be released publicly? >> literally there is no written report there has been given reports to the board of trustees and that is their decision. >> maybe we will follow up on the record. many athletes involved in gymnastics have expressed concern about the limited access for parents are there specific circumstances or settings we believe. should be involved and what role should chaperones play to promote athlete safety? >> thank you this is an area that i feel very strongly
about when i was a coach at the university of florida. we had a very close network and group with our parents and communication and tremendous involvement. >> are there things we could do going forward to be helpful? because what happened what wasn't working. >> absolutely. yes for this world cup athletes competing overseas this spring we did pay to have the parents of those athletes chaperone and get credentialed for those competitions as well as at the verification camps we did pay for all of the parents. >> so that could be done going forward? >> absolutely. >> to clarify reporting requirements, join with
senator feinstein and others on this bill would that help prevent delays to initiate formal investigations of abuse? >> absolutely. >> thank you very much. >> the senator from indiana. >> chairman i appreciate you holding this hearing today. the crimes larry nasser committed are sickening acting form. he has long as he did we still have much work to do to ensure future athletes are able to train in a safe environment. while congress made some strides recently with the authorization u.s. center for safe sports and new protections for amateur athletes to report abuse we still need to better understand how people within these organization failed to protect young athletes. i am thankful this committee continues its oversight today. d2, focusing on the medical treatment of athletes and on
the retention of medical records related to the treatment of athletes when it came to larry nasser treating elite gymnasts as they have the option to use their own physician or were they required to use larry nasser? >> i'm sorry senator i don't know the answer to that because that was prior to me working with usa gymnastics. i don't have any knowledge of how medical records were done or what the policy was prior to my starting. >> what about today? are they required to use a team physician or can they utilize their own? >> they can utilize their own physician and most of them do from their own gym and their hometown and when we travel overseas representing usa it is a combination that has to be credentialed from the
olympic games or pan-american games by the international federation. >> what information is typically contained in medical records for the elite athlete of the type you work with? >> their consent to treat form and and to document and do the assessment of there is an injury that occurs in to speak with her doctor or physical therapist in their hometown to discuss helping them recover from an injury. >> is documentation generated each time? >> yes i believe so.
it is put into a system through their computer system, yes. olympic just gymnasts have allege perpetrated the destruction of medical rords to cceal the conduct of larry nasser. are you aware of any efforts by any individuals within usa gymnastics or those directed by usa gymnastics to destroy or move medical records in the attempt to conceal them in law enforcement? >> i am not aware of any concealment or destroying of records but i am aware of someone being asked to have medical records back from the
training center from indianapolis. >> who is this someone? >> someone within usa gymnastic gymnastics. >> you don't recall who that is? can you give me the name? of the individual? her name is amy white and i believe she was asked to bring back medical records. >> have you heard rumors substantiated or not for those efforts to destroy or move records that may have taken place? >> no i have not. >> are you aware of medical records at the caroli ranch? are you aware of medical
records of these athletes? >> i am not aware but again when there is a consent to treat form and a waiver that every athlete that trains at the training center the parents are required to sign and that is what the record would be there. >> are you ever involved in the destruction of any medical records or instruct anybody to destroy medical records? >> no sir. >> are you aware indiana law requires that the child has been abused or neglected to immediately report it to police or the indiana department of child services?
>> i'm sorry. it is my belief under the indiana law it is my duty to report to my superior. >> as opposed to directly report it to the police or child services? >> yes. >> or in addition? >> i was under the belief that my superior was reporting it to the authorities indiana code 3031 individual shall immediately notify the individual in charge of the institution or the individual in charge of the institution
that they should cause a report to be made. >> thank you i will go back and review the statute i am sure the attorneys are discussing this. >> thank you for putting together this hearing and with the catastrophic failures what questions where they like to ask of the panelist here today? and then to respond very emotionally and i quote to say the reputation of the university and money is more important than the lives of hundreds of girls and women who are abused?
i could say the lives of the survivors of sexual assault are of the utmost importance i am appalled by what happened by every american and also how the complaints were handled once they were made as well as the un- excusable delay in those responses. we must take every possible measure to ensure that a predator like larry nasser is never ever in a position to exploit or abuse children are young women again. dr. simon as the michigan state along we speak for all and miss you alone long -- alarm every american who are troubled and outraged by what we now know occurred on campus , perpetrated by a campus employee entrusted with safety of students from his actions may have been cover that by
other employees. although the university has agreed to pay a $500 million settlement this issue is far from settled. and those that would last a lifetime seen on the great university for decades to come so that culture may have been able likely he did not get away from his behavior that has a culture of complacen so me first ask a couple of questions about larry nasser supervisor in 2000 for you or provost to receive a memo detailing the improper behavior of the dean of the medical school and larry nasser supervisor citing 20 student complaints is that
correct? >> has a lasting provost regarding his meeting with telemarketers and made what they made inappropriate comments and one of them was i went to hope because i live 50 miles from sin and then i may be the only person inside and that initiated a investigation with the new provost with legal affairs. >> in 2010 as the red flags were raised formally during his performance review with two other provost so it is apparent which comes out to
complement female students anatomy as they walked through the halls of campus among other things? correct? >> the provost does those reviews i did not see the survey results but that is review the title ix with those issues that are raised? so i cannot speak to acknowledge the specifics i heard additional comments made by students as the removal of dean so those are allegations being investigated. >> so in july 2012 the ncaa board of presidents voting in favor of penn state?
>> technicly i hav stained as a big ten member. >> and sent an e-mail to msu faculty reminding them of their responsibility of sexual abuse and assault the following month he became the chair of the ncaa executive committee in the wake of the implementation with confidence in the system and to incentivize people to do the right thing when you see something when you said something it is really that simple did you mean it so simple that you can send an e-mail. >> we are talking about a set
of issues those who see things to have the power to say them at the moment to have that transparency and energy so it's not that simple it is a simple message to communicate to make sure they feel safe to do that there is progress in that regard to bring the energy into the system and has been reporting your failed to read that report? >> that was the incorrect interpretation i received an
email from the title ix officer saying there was an individual's sports medicine being reviewed. and my comment was played back that it was in the system appropriately i don't see any title ix report and the administrator. >> you said you didn't see one did you ask for the report? >> i didn't i don't know why she gave me that notice and in hindsight i met with the title ix person periodically with hot button issues or complaints that were problematic to her and i did not read that complaint it was a no finding. >> i have run out of time.
we will see it play out again and again when the athletes were here in april from usb skating asking the panel of athletes what do we need to do to change our culture so this doesn't continue to happen, he said the idea that we are so brave to be here solidifies the problem. that shows how hard it is and then you are expecting a kid to come forward that they do not know the words that exist for it. it is a cultural issue. we have been yelling and nobody is listening and that is true in other situations so i have about three minutes left of my questioning to take a little over a minute and so
what changes do we need to make to the current system to be educated that transparency is reported and that it never happens again. >> and the center for safe sport that alone is a tremendous asset to help that parents or anyone or athletes can anonymously report without fear of retribution or concern but the level of education has to start with the education about the leaders as well as the education about the
grooming techniques and the sexual misconduct and abuse that is not sexual but no abuse is tolerated it was incorporated with transparency with jim and club owners and the entire community and the world the more comfortable the athletes will feel there is a support system and will protect them into the national training center is another area that was researching to find a place that was the model of what i felt of security and safety for minor
athletes. >> thank you. >> with that medical procedure we tried to make sure there is a clear explanation of what people should expect to happen. >> and to be the formal part of the record normally it is just a procedure so i think that is a very important part and how we reach more broadly. and the alum that has been an advocate for the prevention program building on the zero tolerance community-based approach because it cannot be regulatory. we have to educate in ways for children to say things that are important. the third piece is to lower
the barrier when i react with my gut as opposed to the regulations and policy and to put on more procedures i feel if something is not right that is the undercurrent mom -- unintended consequence of the system to lower the barrier so people -- more people can be wrong instead of having to be so right. >> so we have to care children safety more than adults reputations. >> i agree with that but also we have to change the arrow on thi this.
with all the media that is one of the concerns in my reflections. >> i wish mr. petty was still here even if not to answer the questions i would like him to still be here. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> it is clear there were systemic failures that led the national amateur sports program to become a hunting ground for predators to facilitate the appalling abuse of hundreds of children's and young athletes is absently critical american public has the opportunity to hold to account those with egregious failures. it is equally important we do not lose sight of the obligation to implement reforms to make real change be
no longer an opposition and i respectfully request to hold additional hearings with the new leadership with other national governing bodies to make sure they are fulfilling their legal moral and ethical obligations and the american public. >> thank you i appreciate that. last month we heard from former olympic athletes many said they felt there was no one at usa gymnastics they could secretly disclose the abuse they were suffering without retaliation.
as a member of the team that decided which gymnast so in your opinion was there anyone that had sole responsibility to look out for the gymnast? >> with regard to the athletes safety i feel it was everyone's duty and my responsibility individual coach it is everyone's responsibility in terms of absolutely set in the review from ms. daniels that there is a conflict serving on the
selection of teams and then we immediately change that the representative that is solely there for the athletes needs and care and the communication. >> do you say looking at those advocates that are specifically there with any oversight anyone else looking for the specific health and safety of the athletes themselves? >> absolutely. >> with that have benefited in the past to protect these children earlier and sooner? >> yes i do. >> i also have concerns not
only did the governing boards and everyone else there failed these kids, i have had conversations and heard the hearings but a lack of opportunity even to come forward that they felt safe. one of the concerns is the financial incentive of the governing boards. so are you eligible to receive bonuses as part of your compensation within usa gymnastics? >> not regarding athlete performance. >> you are eligible? we make yes. based on a yearly review to make your review. >> obtaining metals?
two no. >> anybody within usa gymnastics that had a bonus compensation package based on the success of an athlete? >> they were privately contracted, yes two so yes some had bonuses based on success. >> not the athlete but of the team. >> what does that mean? the bonus incentive was in essence they succeeded in getting on battle than those would get a bonus. >> yes for examp usa gymnastics there was a bonus structure i believe i'm sorry i do not see the financials but but the athletes also it
is called a bonus structure. >> if anybody received any compensation based on the success of an athlete that would somehow inhibit their ability to look out for the best interest of the athlete. so what i hear you say today there is potential compensation was based on just that? to obtain financial conversation. >> to talk about reforms and the focus is not just about
education to protect the genre athletes for the future and with that systemic failure with a breeding ground for predators do you have any thoughts on additional reforms that we could take. >> i felt immediately with any written policy to make as many changes as possible when we traveled internationally for the championships in columbia this is the first time we had a team chaperone and to incorporate the parents in a
messaging system so they were a part of every step of the way as well as eliminating any one-on-one situation with the transportation policy from the athlete landed at the airport to the training camp as many recommendations as quickly as possible with the athlete recovery center that was number one goal that i was hoping for for a new training facility that was the best or top-notch as well as security
that is the very least they deserve and we will have another round of questions the title ix for an issue the adjudication of that case that there was no threat. >> that is my understanding as well. was it sexual abuse? >> a medical procedure conducted by doctor tee9 the person believed was invasive and abusive and what was the
explanation for the finding of no abuse? there are medical experts looking at the procedure that there was not penetration but they viewed a legitimate medical procedure. the experts believed it fit the condition presented and that. >> them times that investigator employee? >> it was done in the title ix office. >> that person is an employee
under those procedures to have the responsibility to investigate is the employee of michigan state to investigate complaints at that point and to conduct the investigation. >> on date of july 1, 2014 i don't know if it began or ended how long did it take? >> i apologize that isn't in front of me but i believe it began we concluded during that period. maybe i am off on my dates. when the complaint was filed
against tee9 against the msu police? >> that is my understanding. and did you say that. >> that was resolved. >> that complaint came in near the end of august. >> doctor tee9 was and then suspended and we began to unravel what we knew about the situation. and in october so that investigation then it was turned over because more complaint and turned on --
came forward so it was my perspective that was terrific and investigated msu police under the atrney general. and with the fbi investigation with the u.s. attorney with the ongoing investigation through msu police and ongoing criminal investigations through the u.s. attorney and the fbi. if i recall correctly and to be a charge later and those concluded for the sentencing of larry nasser january 2018
and with u.s. attorney pornography charge. >> but where i wanted to go is have you or anyone you know been interviewed in this case involving doctor nasser by the fbi? >> i was not interviewed by the fbi. i understand there are individuals who were. >> can you tell me who they are or the positions they occupied? >> i do not personally have that list of names i'm sure we could get that for you. because i believe the fbi report was publicly available. >> i'm not in the position to do that but that can be provided to the university. >> ms. faehn were you interviewed by the fbi?
>> i was not. the only information that i have was that i was supposed to pick up an athlete to speak with the fbi the next day but that was canceled for what reason i don't know. >> anyone you know at usa gymnastics other than this one individual gymnast that the interview never occurred to your knowledge interviewed by the fbi? >> no sir. >> do you know the name france epler? >> i do now but not then. >> you did not know why she was hired or who hired her? >> no sir i do not know.
>> let me continue a few moments longer with you. doctor simon according to reports the michigan state provided to materially different versions of the title ix report to the individual who filed the title ix report complaint against doctor nasser. so according to the house of representatives your examination in their report indicate from the conclusion of that investigation from your title ix examiner two different documents were provided one to the person making the allegation and a different report to doctor nasser. >> i learned that in 2016. >> do you know why? >> as has been explained to me
, let me be clear about that, the effort was to include in the report ways the process and procedures could be improved even though the decision made was no finding. >> let me asking animus consent the michigan house of representatives report be included in the record. >> without objection. >> it is entered make the michigan house of representatives noted the version provided from nasser included the potential need for corrective action as i thank you just indicated and that discrepancy has a culture more focused on protecting the institution and survivors. do you have a response to that finding? >> my understanding of the reason for that we would take every opportunity to improve
the quality of the work done by the individual and to do that in a way that made the individual responsible for following through. >> this investigation that occurred in 2015, did you or anybody under your supervision speak about doctor nasser being under that investigation? >> i did not and to my knowledge i don't know no one else that did representing the university. >> during the time you are president of michigan state university dr. nasser was employed by the institution as university position and that employment continued through 2016. correct? be my guest. throughout our investigation,
it is is apprising finding to me that there is a lack of consistent record-keeping for medical and billing information beyond the reports that indicate you were made aware of sexual misconduct allegations brought against nasser was ever a red leg raised he was providing so-called medical treatment to hundreds of underaged athletes without adequate billing for those services through the sports medicine department that they could track? the me see if i could paraphrase that it is odd to me you have university physician treating patients and yet little or no medical records or billing information associated with that treatment. >> senator, the treatments done under the auspices of the university sports medicine clinic have medical records to my understanding.
and were billed accordingly. but as noted earlier doctor nasser was viewed as a volunteer for usa gymnastics. so in that volunteer role we believe he was under the direction of usa gymnastics for whatever his provision of medical care and that the records for those individuals being treated for under the auspices of usa gymnastics. >> was he seeing patients at his clinic and facilities on the michigan state campus? >> patients were referred to him at his clinic or our clinic on the university campus which is why we are
part responsible for his care. but in listening to the testimony before your committee, she made a comment that she went into the back door of the clini clinic. if you recall that comment. had a bank currently president and listening to that i don't know about the records like visit like that. but for our clinic there are records related to people who scheduled appointments and have medical records. >> so a student, what patients would he see associated with michigan state university unrelated to was a gymnastics responsibilities? >> dr. nasser had a clinic in sports medicine bc patients
from wherever they came from and scheduled an appointment with him. in addition sports medicine as a contractor with our athletic department to provide medical services to the athletic department. under that responsibility, the medical records retained for student athletes if you saw them in the clinic they would be in the clinical record if they are part of record-keeping for student athletes, they are also part of the university's records and retained. >> and michigan state university athletes seen by doctor nasser is there a billing record associated with that? >> a free service through the student athletes but there
would be a medical record but not necessarily a billing record. >> and not associated with the usa gymnastics with university bill that patients visit? >> if a person came to the clinic as a scheduled appointment associated with usa gymnastics but is a scheduled appointment the medical records are all the same from our perspective. >> so there is a bill associated with that visit? >> i can answer you that there should have been that is one of the issues under review as we look through these issues. >> the nature is we cannot find billing records for patients seen at a clinic on
your campus associated with visits to doctor nasser and that raises suspicions what was going on but should the university have known something if those visits were not bill? >> my understanding of policy and protocol which has been proven to be uncorrected as we unravel the issue more is that people who went to the clinic were billed. . . . .
. >> thanks, mr. chairman. miss faehn, in a deposition in 2017, robert colarossi, former president of usa gymnastics says that usag would investigate allegations of child sexual abuse only if the organization had received a signed, written statement that was "corroborated". so that means to me that any of these young athletes, as girls
or teenagers, would have been required to sign a statement and then have it could rroborated b someone else for usa gymnastics even to consider an investigation. is that correct? that's according to robert colorossi, president of the organization. >> i cannot speak on mr mrmr. mrmr. mr. colorossi. i never worked with him. >> well, let me ask you this. the current code of ethical conduct, which was last updated april of 2016, in fact, during your tenure as a senior vice president. >> uh-huh. >> says that -- i'm not going to read the whole paragraph. but essentially any complaint "must be signed and state
specifically the nature of the alleged misconduct". in other words, it has to be in writing. >> uh-huh. >> it has to be signed. there is no indication that policy has been revoked, correct? >> i believe that that -- that was regarding grievance. there was a difference between a grievance and there being conflated. i know that when -- i do have the -- >> well, this refers to complaints submitted to the usag. and it says that members -- >> uh-huh. >> obligations -- >> yep. >> -- under this code, they are encouraged to first address that concern directly to that member. in other words -- >> yes. >> -- go to larry nasser and
complain about his sexual abusing them. and then sign a written complaint. do you think that policy is fair to victims or survivors? >> no, absolutely not. >> but it's still in effect? >> no. there's the change to the bylaws after the deborah daniels report. the board of directors unanimously adopted all of the rek m-- recommendations to the deborah daniels law according to the bylaws. >> so what does the complainant now have to do? >> it's according to the policy. so if there is any -- if there is any suspected abuse, they are required to -- anyone is required to report immediately or within 24 hours. >> well, that is a case -- an
instance of -- >> uh-huh. >> -- the kind of mandatory reporting that's required? >> right. >> why is the code of ethical conduct still on the usag website? >> i don't have an answer for that. >> let me ask you a different question then. a, usag statent from just this past year, january 2018. >> uh-huh. >> -- defending the organization for not immediately reporting to law enforcement said, "the information that maggie and later a second athlete provided was important but did not provide reasonable suspicion that sexual abuse had occurred". did you know about that statement before it was issued? >> i can say that almost -- i
want to say the great majority of the statements that did come out was not aware of the statements and would read them as they came out. >> who was behind that statement? >> the statements would be organized by the director of communications, along with the president. >> the president being kerry perry? >> what was the date of it again? january? >> january of this year. >> yes. >> do you think that the information that you were provided by sara jans he provided "reasonable suspicion" that sexual abuse had occurred? >> i believe that it was a very real concern, yes. i do not know if in this relief if they are referring to the -- whatever the report was from the
investigator. >> in your testimony as part of the testimony, i think it's exhibit f, you provided an e-mail from steve penny to various people, including yourself. jay binder, paul perila, renee jamison, which instructed them to avoid saying anything to anyone about those concerns raised at the time concerning the references to a medical professional. was that medical professional larry nasser? >> yes, sir. >> and the instruction was that "you are instructed not to have any conversation with anyone concerning this issue until
further notice"; correct? >> that's correct. >> and that was, in effect, an instruction to you to remain silent after july 21, 2015? >> that's correct. >> are you aware that larry nasser was informed of the claims against him and the investigation the following day, july 22, 2015? >> i am now after reading that well as receiving the forwarded e-mail that is in my testimony that mr. penny had sent to me that showed that it was the drop box from larry nasser. so that there had to have been some communication going on. >> and the fbi was not contacted
until a number of days later, ly 27th, 2015;correct? >> that's my understanding now, yes. >> so to put it alln a nutshell, you were told to keep quiet. larry nasser was informed of the investigation before the fbi was told about it; correct? >> yes, that's my understanding now. that is not what i believed then. >> and that was in effect the authorized action of the u.s. olympic committee -- i'm sorry. the usa gymnastics leadership steve penny at the time? >> yes.
>> there have been various references to mandatory sexual abuse education. in fact, you may have read martha peroli's testimony. she makes a couple recommendations. one of them is -- the first recommendation for mandatory education and training on sexual assault, prevention for all stakeholders involved in usa gymnastics. do you agree? >> yes. i believe there needs to be extensive education for everyone involved, not just within usa gymnastics but for all of the gymnastics community coaches, national staff. anyone that is around athletes. >> let me ask you a general question based on your experience. >> uh-huh. >> at least two years with usa gymnastics and as an athlete.
>> uh-huh. >> a coach. would you agree with me that the entire structure of the u.s. olympic committee and the 49 national governing boards, including usa gymnastics needs to be radically reformed? >> i believe there has to be absolutely an extreme open mind in listening to all of the failures and the problems so that we can get better. absolutely. >> and just so you know, i think you may have read scott blackwell's testimony submitted to this committee in which he, in effect, disclaims authority on the part of the u.s. olympic committee to be effective in
overseeing and disciplining the ngb, the national governing board of those groups like usa gymnastics. in effect he says all they can do is decertify them, and that's the limit of the kind of action that can be taken and remedies against exactly this kind of failure within the national governing board. so i'm not going to press you further because i think in effect it's our job, it's on us as lawmakers to try to propose those reforms. but i hope we will have cooperation from you and others with knowledge about how that radical restructuring perhaps can be accomplished if members of the committee agree with me.
i just want to say for the record that the notification of larry nasser was by a memo from scott emsol to him. you may not have been aware of it at the time and you were not copied on it. finally, dr. simon, i would just like to ask you, you know, there have been references to the information that came to your attention 2004, 2014. you have to turn on your microphone. >> did you say 2004? >> right. 2004 i think there was a complaint about him. >> there was a complaint about inappropriate language and a telemarketer. not mr. nasser. >> so without going into the precise facts involving any of
these instances, if you look back, and i know you've expressed regret, do you wake up in the middle of the night and say, you know, i wish i had fill in the blank. and i ask this question because your answer might instructive to other leaders in that position. what would you have done differently? should you have taken the initiative in 2014 instead of just accepting the conclusions of that triple i investigation. >> first of all, in 2014 when i was informed, i did not know it was dr. nasser, so it was simply a sports medicine physician. sir, i am not a doctor, nor am i
capable of making judgments about medical procedures and their appropriateness. i have through my career believed that experts should be investigators. and those of us in positions of leadership should take the results of those investigations and take them seriously. we are in perfect system. do i wish in hindsight things might have been different? do i wish in hindsight that the 2004 complaint that went to meridian township that was a sxault -- sexual assault, i have a lot of wishes about that. i think going forward, we have to think very seriously about, again, how we -- how we think about the voices and how we hear them.
the processes that are very bureaucratic and done for lots of reasons, including legal reasons that may have accumulated into the wrong unintended consequences. and we have to continue to try to make systems better with people and with encouragement to have the highest standards. and with that, that is our collective responsibility. that is our moral responsibility. and i keep thinking about ways in which the voices can happen differently and be heard differently. >> well, i hope that perhaps you, too, can give us the benefit of your guidance, because a number of the athletes have looked back. and i'm going to ask that one of their facebook postings be made
a part of the record. rachel denhollander who actually first came forward to the indianapolis paper for an article in september 2016 and posted -- i believe it's may 30th of this year saying in effect that action should have been taken earlier. i'm not going to repeat the whole post. but i think that there are -- there are warning signs here that perhaps should have been heeded earlier at the very top of the michigan state university. i'm sorry. >> as i said in my testimony, i had that same wish as well.
but i also think that the reviews as he reported the attorney general indicated there was no explicit information that we neglected to handle. >> that's why i'm asking you not about scomplits -- explicit information. i'm not asking whether anybody came to your door with a great big sign saying larry nasser is a monster. i'm asking whether you look back and say i should have done something different here. >> i think we have to -- if you look at the sexual abuse language and the predators, we have to be able to look at people and particularly in medical situations and fd ways for better oversight and review of those, including the way in which patients have bigger voices. if i think about michigan state
and our clinics. i am really unfamiliar and have been unfamiliar until recently with the way in which usa gymnastics works and i'm reading in the paper. but for us, we're trying to think about it through the clinic. and clinical procedures that make it better for patients to have voices and be informed and also through our work with youth safety to be able to look at grooming and the other kinds of issues that i think contribute. that's the michigan state part of this. and i also think that we -- we need to be able -- we're going to ask in our new policy everybody volunteers, volunteer organizations. we're going to ask usa gymnastics under the new policies or any issues more regularly that we should be considering with dr. nasser. we just assumed assumptions that
given the status of the olympics and the assumption that they would have the best, we didn't consider that assumption. so it's a series of assumptions. >> that concludes my questions. >> thank you, senator. i'm going to wrap up here very shortly. just a couple of questions to conclude. what's your understanding -- when were you made aware that dr. nasser was no longer associated with the program? >> i believe that was -- i would have to look to see the exact date. but i believe it was -- >> how did you find out about it? let me ask that question. >> i received the one e-mail that stated he it wasn't going to be at the secret classic.
classic. and then i believe going -- it was either he wasn't going to be at any events going forward after that. i would have to look to see through my e-mail. >> was there an explanation why that was going to occur? why dr. nasser was no longer going to be there? what was the explanation? >> i believe it was because he was still under investigation. >> one of the things that troubles we m usag is the question of whether he was ever fired or he retired, which, again, suggests looking out more after the organization or the individual than the athletes. so i was interested in how you perceived his discharge and what really had occurred. let me ask you another perception. one of the complaints is -- senator blumenthal visited with
you about how changes at usag, what role the olympic committee played in that regard. it's my understanding that the olympic committee with their abilities under the law have decertification as an option. they gave the usag the option of being discertified if they didn't change their board. so we have a new board at usag. we have a new ceo. and, in fact, you're no longer there. >> correct. >> so significant changes have occurred. but the concern is many of the people associated with the culture of usag and the time when dr. nasser was performing treatments, committing sexual abuse and people who potentially said or did nothing about that, is it true that they still or could still be at usag.
with the departure of the board, with the departure of the ceo, has the culture changed or is many of still the same people involved in the previous days still at usag? >> i would say, senator, this is actually something that i had wanted and agreed with that there should be a thorough investigation. and ask -- i was beyond stunned that i was never interviewed and questioned by anyone. and i feel that there should be for us to really understand exactly who knew what and what happened, there should be a thorough investigation. because there may be people still working that didn't have any affiliation except for maybe, one, they weren't told something. and then there could be people
that actually had made arrangements or had greater knowledge. but i do not have that information in great detail. things that i was learning i was founding out through a reading on what media was putting out. and i think that there still absolutely has to be people questioned as to what involvement they did have and whether there needs to be additional changes. >> i agree with your view. i solidly agree with your view. you indicated that you had never been questioned by anyone. fbi. in response to my question, you have never been questioned by the fbi. no law enforcement official asked you to write a report or explain what you knew, is that true? >> until recently, yes. >> until recently being how
recent? >> three weeks ago. maybe a month ago. >> and what law enforcement agency is that? >> the texas rangers. >> okay. and no one at usag conducted an investigation as to who knew what and when is also your testimony; is that true? i didn't ask the question very well. is it true that no one at usag conducted an internal investigation asking you or others that you know who work at usag what you knew and when you knew it? >> that's correct. >> that, too, is part of reason to be disturbed. it is my practice to give witnesses the opportunity to say anything that they felt like they need to correct what they said or that they wanted to make certain that something is included that we should know and be included in the record. and so i would ask miss faehn if you have anything you would like to add to your testimony today or response to any questions.
>> i would like to thank everyone here. thank all of the senators for this opportunity to share the facts as i know them. and be here to continually do anything i can to help. to help not only find out anything more that we can do to help make -- to help make it better for the future. and my heart goes out to every survivor. it's not right. we can't take that back. we can hope to listen and learn from it so that no one else has to go through that again.
thank you. >> thank you. miss simon? >> thank you. i would echo, again, my apology to the victims, the survivors. those we know and those we don't. and a way in which i hope to contribute is that while we acted imperfectly, and i wish we had known sooner, i would like to be very much a part of the conversation about the solution. i do think i know a bit about how universities work and systems and approach and some of the unintended consequences of our bureaucratic processes and regulatory systems. we need to be able in the future to be able to have our now sight and foresight be much better than our hindsight. >> this committee intends to
pursue those solutions, those changes in organization and systemic problems much further. and we welcome the input of all those who have suggestions about what needs to be done to accomplish a more perfect system that protects people. and i think about a system, i also just would remind folks that we all have an obligation to other people, other human beings. whether the system or not is a perfect system, individuals have a responsibility to care for others. and that includes reporting to authorities any kind of -- any allegation about abuse. and so what we're going to work towards a system, it's just a reminder that we have a responsibility as human beings to behave regardless of what the system says to protect those individuals who have reached out for our help. i would like unanimous consent. i would request it to include in
the record the testimony of martha caroli and scott blackman who could not attend the hearing today due to medical hearings. however, they will be answering member's questions for the record. the hearing record will remain open for two weeks. during this time, senators are asked to submit any questions for the record. upon receipt, this is a request of you as the witnesses. the witnesses are requested to submit their written answers to those committee members questions to you as soon as possible but no later than july 6th, 2018. this concludes our hearing for today. senator bloom shawl. >> thank -- senator blumenthal. >> thank you. i just want to emphasize the point you made that we're going to pursue action. apologies are not enough. as heartfelt as they may be. and this remark is not directed at our two witnesses. it's directed at the world. apologies are not enough. we have to honor those survivors
with real action. and my hope is that we will continue the very bipartisan work that we have begun here. i know we will. and i want to thank the chairman for this hearing. >> i think the senator from connecticut, the senator from connecticut. [ laughing ] >> i have no script. i should know your home state, senator. i thank the senator from connecticut for his cooperation or ability to work together as a committee. and this does conclude the hearing. and i thank our witnesses for appearing today. and i appreciate the cooperation of all the committee members in today's hearing. the hearing is now adjourned.
but one step should have been taken which is go see police or the authority. one thing the one person could have done -- [ inaudible conversations ] >> and then 335 plus which we all know. [ inaudible conversations ] >> yes. [ inaudible conversations ]. >> there's a lot of from rhonda. you know, we are sorry for everything. they feel that they got it -- they feel that they actually. >> they're covering up their butts in my opinion. and you think about if you were in that situation, what would you do. survival for them now. >> yes. >> they know they made their own decision. they know what they should have done. because now they're reading it and they are saying it wasn't my fault. i went to see penny. well, now you see what steve penny did with the information. >> yeah. >> take it. [ inaudible conversations ] >> yes. and then everyone just sort of, as you can see, we're all
sitting here. questions are being asked. but i wasn't there at that time. i was hired after that. i did what i was supposed to do. or i'm no longer in that position. is there one person who is responsible for this? no. it's a collective whole. no one did the right thing as a group. you all did your talking together and thmanipulating of information and hiding of information. [ inaudible conversations ] >> and i was really surprised too how they have all of this information and the senator brought up a couple of pieces of information. >> yes. [ inaudible conversations ] >> yes. in 2014 with any. and then even the e-mail he sent before nasser even comknew he w being investigated about being silent. all people on the board renee, peter vidmar and rhonda.
i was amazed. and even then when he said absolutely no talking about it, she must have felt at that moment it had been reported. she had to have some idea. and she still didn't do anything. and it was days even after that e-mail that he reported to the fbi. even to call the athletes in that position and say, hey, have you been contacted by the authorities, you know, rargd -- regarding your situation with dr. nasser or your complaints. just to check. if she cares so much about the athlete, they care so much about the athlete, it's a phone call away. it's a text away. >> uh-huh. >> so i just don't believe what they're saying. [ inaudible conversations ]. >> if the athlete is okay and believing the athlete, you would
have -- [ inaudible conversations ] >> you would think. [ inaudible conversations ] >> why was larry a part of so much of this conversation? >> yes. >> when does the red flag say, okay, he's being accused of sexual assault. let's not tell him about the other things. they were uncomfortable. that's what they do to you. >> right. >> they confuse you. and they say maybe -- are you sure it wasn't a medical procedure. are you sure that he didn't help you? are you sure he wasn't doing that to adjust your hips. >> you're confused. >> to help your back. and so i don't know what the girl -- how they described it. but if it was anything like i was at that age, they probably didn't describe it.
and then the former president, she kept saying we can't understand the medical procedures because we're not doctors. it's like, excuse me, you can exactly understand what happened. >> yes. >> it's extremely, extremely understandable. and these were both women. i'm just thinking don't you get it. even the word weird coming out of the kid's mouth. >> right. >> the word weird. that felt weird. you know, any adult who looking out for that child would say what was weird about it. >> right. >> try a little harder. find out some information so you can protect them so next time it's not weird and they understand what is happening. [ inaudible conversations ] >> if any witness would have asked the question, it would have been a huge red flag.
right. [ inaudible conversations ] >> i've been involved in this case for two years. i had a baby right after i first joined. so that's why i've been mia. [ inaudible conversations ] >> i can speak for the nameless voices out there. hundreds of us who aren't olympians. >> what years were you there? [ inaudible conversations ] >> a special case. unchaperoned. no parents. there was nobody -- i just happened to get away from my coach in '99. >> '99. >> because my coach was incredibly decent. and i was saying in one of the
cabins. she was in that cabin. and all these years later after the story comes out they were doing some background when they called to check out the story. they said i wasn't there. and i was like remember that. they said she was never there. >> those are the people -- like i hadn't said anything against them. i had just gotten my word and they weren't going to air the story unless someone could say that they could vouch for her. and my name had come up. >> yes. >> i completely agree. i do remember can you name anyone from your cabin at the ranch. and i said the only person i can think of right now is jessica howard. >> wow. >> i think 19 years. >> wow. >> and i said jessica heart. she said you don't know what you
just did. >> and i was like what. >> we weren't going to air our story unless we have something. and they said who else is in your cabin. and t called chelcea. she s jessica howard was in our cabi >> wow. >> and then i found a photo. >> oh, my god. >> so you have an event. you just had a baby. >> yes. >> i had hyperemesis which is terrible morning sickness which is why i decided not to do the 60 minute interview. >> so what has this been like for you? when did you first come forward and kind of going through all of these life changes while this was going on. >> my mother told me a few years ago in august, i think. they had read a story. >> okay. >> they don't have cables. >> yes. >> they read the story. and she called me and said i feel like i recognize the name, dr. larry nasser.
didn't you go see him. they said someone is accusing him of assaulting -- sexually assaulting her son. and molesting him. and in that moment they came crashing down. that's all it took. because when your kids are struggling with this internal feeling that you have been completely violated. and your coach is in the room. he's a two time olympic coach whom you trust with your life. your coach is in the room. it's olympic doctor held up on a pedestal as being the best of the best and you are privileged to be there. okay. think about being 14. just 14 in that position being completely violated. and struggling with what is going on here. it's just a medical treatment. your mind is making you believe that this is okay. you hold on to that information so you face and then 16 years
later it blows up like that. okay. i'm sorry. >> you can understand why these children don't say anything. it's a doctor. you have to remember that detail. your doctor is aloud -- only person who is aloud to touch you. >> what coach was in the room. >> my coach. >> okay. so she didn't say -- >> yeah. dianne english. she's a two time olympic coach. in the olympics. and she was there. which is part of the reason why i struggled with what was happening. >> yes. >> you know, so my mom told me this. and when i finally heard, i literally set out. she's not lying. this girl is not lying. you need to do everything in our power to give her support. in an instant you know. it was clear. >> my mom -- >> yes. they said you have to call. i said who do i call. and she looked up on the tv.
i remember the instant i called him. i said there's going to be a thousand -- without a doubt in my mind, there was like ten of us. and i said there should be a thousand. if he did it to me the first time i met him, one of the largest competitions in america. if he did that instant and was that brave, he did it to everyone he met. it was in 1999. >> yes. >> i think we spoke last year when you didn't come forward yet. >> that's a whole culture which we talked about many times. it struck fear into all of us. and me not being an olympian, i felt like i could sort of step back because i wouldn't have a voice anyways. that's the feeling. i'll be honest. now i know every voice counts. but there's more. there's emotional abuse. there's mental abuse. there's snarky comments that
coaches make when you're at camp that brings you down so you feel like you can't -- you don't have any comments or don't do anything. [ inaudible conversations ] >> that's what is days poiisapg about all of this. each individual has an excuse. that's all wer is excuses or did my part. now step back. right. and it's very disappointing to think that this entire monday tros tee -- monstrosity happened. and the one person that is going to be responsible when there is probably a lot more didn't have anything to say today. >> do you feel that the senators were too easy on rhonda faehn because she was willing to come forward? >> i felt like the questions were amazing. i felt like the amount of time
and effort they put into this speaks volumes to our system. i think they're on our side. i think they did a wonderful job. i just think that the answers were not the right ones that we expected. >> the other questions were really detailed and the scope of the question was so much better than we heard in the past and like they really grasped the issue and it's not just larry. it's not just sexual abuse. it is the culture of abuse that permeates each and actually manipulates young women into succumbing victims. so the questions were good. i was a little disappointed they didn't press for more when they gave answers. >> i think the timing had a lot to do with it. >> maybe the time. and then i also feel like they maybe knew the facts and just -- >> just wanted to get them on the record. >> yes.
>> because i know that they're working on this. i know they have the documents. they have the information. so maybe they just didn't want to, you know, do it. [ inaudible conversations ] >> tomorrow morning health and human services secretarial ex azar testifies about the policies and priorities of his agencies at a hearing of the house education and the work force committee. live coverage begins at 9:45 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. also online at c-span.org or on the free c-span radio app. >> c-span washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, ib inside -- inside elections reporter will be on to talk
about the results of the primary. and paul cozaar discusses immigration policy. then democratic congressman from rhode island talks about democratic messaging heading into the 2018 midterm election. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. minnesota senator tina smith took office in january when she filled the senator of the resignation of senator ranken. she discussed her political careers and women in politics. this is 20 minutes. >> i am so proud to be here. this is my first time speaking on the senate floor. and because i represent the great state of minnesota, i thought i would dohe pole thing and start out by properly introducing myself. i came toinnesota right out of
business school just married with my husband archie, a beat up orange car and a ton of student loans. you know, most people who have never been to minnesota remember us for our weather. but we have a thriving business community with a number of fortune 500 companies. and i got my start working for one of them. general mills. the winters are every bit as cold as you heard, but archie and i fell in love with minnesota anyway and before long we put down roofs. we have two sons sam and mason. instead of just building a career, suddenly we were building a life. i am so glad that archie and my dad harland whose 88th birthday who is this saturday came to washington to cheer me on today. so that's the story of how i became a minnesotian. i left general mills and started a small business i ran out of my house. sam was 3.
mason was 1. it was a busy, exciting and happy time for us. but my parents had raised me to believe that if you're truly going to be part of the community, it's not just enough to pay your taxes or keep your lawn nice or say hi at the grocery store. you have to get involved in civic life. when i was young, they had been involved in local politics. so i looked around the community where archie and i decided to raise our kids and saw we had a state senator out of touch with the values that my neighbors and i shared. and not only that, but there was a young energetic, young candidate running against her. and he had young kids just like we did. so in those days, campaigns tended to put their focus on traditional neighborhoods with single-family homes. i guess the idea was that if you own your own home, that probably means you're old enough to be likely to vote. and invested enough in our community to really care about what's happening. but a lot of my neighbors lived in apartment buildings and they had a lot to say about how they thought things were going.
but frankly they were kind of tired of being ignored. as i have always seen it, if you really listen to people, you'll find that everybody has a story worth hearing. everybody has a problem that's worth working to solve. and when it comes to making big decisions as a community, everybody deserves a seat at the table. so i packed up the stroller with sam and mason and we went off to organize the apartment building. people were surprised to see me. but i had a great time. i got to know my neighbors. i asked a lot of questions. i listened to their answers. and we built relationships. and the guy i was organizing for became the first democratic to win that seat in a decade. after that, i stayed involved in campaigns and issues that i cared about, especially when it came to women's issues. my dad had been on the board of planned parenthood in ohio and i got a chance to work for planned parenthood in minnesota. and then one day i got a call from the mayor of minneapolis.
he had been in office for a few years and working on a whole range of challenges starting with an epidemic of violence among young people. now, archie is a really creative thinker and he thought if i could bring my business experience to the position of chief of staff, we could do some good work together. i was intrigued. so i made the leap. it was one of the best professional decisions i've ever made. i loved the challenges of that job. and later i held the same job for the governor of minnesota mark dayton. and then one day to my utter shock, governor dayton asked me to run with him and serve as lieutenant governor. i will be honest. that took a little bit to get used to. when it comes to public service, i've always been a lot more comfortable with the service part than the public part. but that job involved a lot of the same skills that i used in my business career. building relationships. looking for new solutions to old problems. and creating coalitions to get things done. and it involved one of the
favorite parts of mine of politics which is listening to people's stories. you know, a lot of times when a big powerful politician walks into the room full of people, everybody kind of clams up and waits for him to say what's on his mind. after all, that's why people came. and at the end, maybe he has time for a couple of questions before he has to run off to the next event. but there's rarely a chance for a real conversation. and this is where being kind of a low key person works to my advantage. i came in the coffee shop or community centers or even people's homes and i would introduce myself and ask people questions. what's going on with your family? what have the last few weeks been like for you? what keeps you up at night? and that is when people really start to open up. and, you know, it's one thing to go around the table at a forum and have someone say health care is my big issue. but when you're in someone's living room and drinking their coffee, and we love coffee in minnesota, you've met their dog, you get anc