Attorney: Ex-USA Gymnastics head didn't know of indictment

Published: Oct. 17, 2018 at 10:56 PM EDT
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Steve Penny, the former president of USA Gymnastics, was arrested on Wednesday evening in Gatlinburg by the U.S. Marshals Service of the Eastern District of Tennessee.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice reported that the arrest was conducted by the marshals and the Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force.

Penny was indicted on September 28 for tampering with evidence in relation to the


According to the release from the DOJ, the indictment alleges that Penny ordered the removal of documents from Karolyi Ranch in Walker County, Texas for the purpose of impairing the investigation into Nassar.

After receiving a request from the Southern District of Texas, officials began the search for Penny. Information on Penny's whereabouts led officials to East Tennessee where he was apprehended in a Gatlinburg cabin.

Penny was booked into the Sevier County Jail and is waiting extradition to Walker County, Texas.

“Deputy U.S. Marshals and task force officers from the Southern District of Texas and the Eastern District Tennessee worked tirelessly to locate Penny,” stated David Jolley, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Tennessee. “Good police work ensured that Penny was swiftly and safely apprehended. He will now face the charges against him,” he added.

The indictment states the documents Penny removed were delivered to him at the USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis, but they have not been recovered and their whereabouts are unknown to authorities.

Penny's attorney said he had no clue of a Texas grand jury indictment when he traveled to Tennessee for what he claims was a family vacation.

Nassar was charged in June with sexually assaulting six minors in Walker County. A former sports medicine trainer, Debra Van Horn, was also indicted on one count of second-degree sexual assault of a child. Prosecutors said Van Horn was charged as “acting as a party” with Nassar.

In Michigan, Nassar was sentenced earlier this year to decades in prison, after hundreds of women and girls accused him of molesting them with his hands under the guise of medical treatment. They said the abuse went as far back as the 1990s while he worked at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Nassar was a former team doctor for both the women’s program at USA Gymnastics as well as Michigan State University athletics.

In Texas, a number of gymnasts who had trained at the Karolyi Ranch have said Nassar sexually assaulted them there. Walker County prosecutors have said there is no corroborated evidence of wrongdoing by world-renowned gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi, and the couple has denied wrongdoing.

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