USA Gymnastics names safe sport director amid abuse scandal

INDIANAPOLIS — USA Gymnastics is turning to a longtime children’s rights advocate and a former prosecutor to help address issues that have plagued the organization amid a sexual abuse scandal that has shaken one of the U.S. Olympic movement’s marquee programs.

Toby Stark, who spent the last seven years as executive director of the children’s advocacy group Chaucie’s Place, will serve as the director of safe sport for USA Gymnastics. Stark will oversee all aspects of USA Gymnastics safe sport policies, guidelines, educational programs, reporting and adjudication services.

Mark Busby, who focused on child abuse and sex crime cases while with the Marion County prosecutor’s office, will provide in-house legal counsel.

Both hirings are in response to recommendations made by former federal prosecutor Deborah Daniels, who in an independent report released last month called on USA Gymnastics to make a complete culture change.

"These two professionals will help us better protect athletes and continually enhance the systems and processes we have in place," Ron Galimore, chief operating officer for USA Gymnastics, said in a statement. "Bringing this expertise to USA Gymnastics is another important step because the well-being of athletes is a top priority."

USA Gymnastics is facing multiple civil lawsuits filed by former athletes who claim the organization was negligent for failing to monitor a longtime team doctor now facing multiple charges of sexual in Michigan.

Larry Nassar, who spent more than 25 years working with USA Gymnastics, pleaded guilty in federal court last week to accumulating thousands of images of child pornography. Nassar is awaiting trial in three cases alleging that he sexually molested a total of nine girls at his campus clinic, home or a gymnastics club in the Lansing area.