An Evening with Marisa Kwiatkowski and Tim Evans
Meet the Indianapolis Star Reporters that Uncovered the Sexual Abuse Scandal in USA Gymnastics
USI’s Department of Communications and the College of Liberal Arts are hosting investigative reporters Marisa Kwiatkowski and Tim Evans for the 2022 Liberal Arts Distinguished Scholar Series on February 23, 2022, at 6:00 pm in Carter Hall.
Kwiatkowski and Evans will discuss the USA Gymnastics’ sexual abuse scandal, including how they exposed Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse and USA Gymnastics’ negligence in failing to protect its gymnasts from a serial sexual predator. Through their investigations, Kwiatkowski and her Indy Star colleagues, Evans and Mark Alesia, revealed that not only had Larry Nassar, the doctor for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team, been accused of serial sexual misconduct, but that USA Gymnastics had suppressed sexual abuse accusations from the young women on the U.S. gymnastics team.
Dr. Jane Weatherred, who is coordinating this event on behalf of the Communications Department at USI, said, “I am thrilled that Marisa and Tim have agreed to share their experiences with USI and the Evansville community. It’s a very important topic relevant to so many fields of study here at USI such as, communications, public relations, journalism, sports management, sociology, psychology, health professions, and criminal justice, just to name a few. It’s an Indiana-based story, a national story and a global story about what kind of positive impact investigative journalism can have our society.”
Kwiatkowski broke the story in August 2016 when she published Out of Balance, a story about USA Gymnastics’ policy of not reporting sexual abuse allegations against coaches. Within days, two women contacted the then-Indy Star reporter, who published their account of abuse. Subsequently, another 150 people came forward with additional claims that they, too, had been abused in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Nassar. The reporting by Kwiatkowski, Evans, and Alesia instigated a investigation that paved the way for charges against Nassar which ended with his conviction and an additional lawsuit against USA Gymnastics, which is located in Indianapolis.
In December 2021, after 5 years in court, the Nassar abuse survivors reached a $380 million dollar settlement with USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee. More than 500 of Nassar’s sexual abuse victims will be compensated, including Gold Olympic medalists Simon Biles, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney.
About the settlement, survivor Rachel Denhollander posted on her Twitter account, “Important note about this settlement, while the majority of survivors are survivors of Nassar’s abuse, our settlement includes survivors abuse by coaches and other officials in the sport. This is not just a Nassar problem.”
“This journey is an amazing story. It illustrates the power of journalism and the important function journalists have as watchdogs working in the public’s interest. Their perseverance reminds us that research and hard work can reveal the truths needed for a more just society,” said Dr. Leigh Anne Howard, chairperson of the USI Department of Communications.
Masks are required to attend this event and social distancing guidelines will be followed in Carter Hall. A catered reception will follow afterward.