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Ex-MSU chief Simon, USA Gymnastics officials to testify before U.S. Senate panel

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
MSU president Lou Anna Simon

Washington — Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon is set to testify next week before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, alongside two former officials for USA Gymnastics.

The Senate Commerce subcommittee investigating the Larry Nassar case last week postponed a May 22 hearing after Simon was the only invited witnesses to say she would attend. 

Steve Penny and Rhonda Faehn, the former president and women's program director of USA Gymnastics, respectively, had both declined invitations to testify but are now listed by the committee alongside Simon for a 3 p.m. June 5 hearing. 

Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and ranking Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said last week they were "disappointed" the witnesses had declined their invitations but pledged to reschedule. 

It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether the Commerce Committee had issued subpoenas for Penny or Faehn, or they decided to attend on their own accord. 

The Senate hearing comes in the aftermath of the sex abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former sports doctor for MSU and USA Gymnastics.

He is serving what amounts to a life sentence after admitting to sexually abusing girls and women under the guise of medical treatment and to possessing child pornography.

MSU last week reached a $500 million settlement with more than 330 of his accusers.

The settlement only deals with accusations against MSU and does not address lawsuits pending against USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympics Committee, coaches and others.

Last month, Moran’s subcommittee heard from Olympic athletes, including Nassar victims Jordyn Wieber and Jamie Dantzcher, at a hearing on abuse of athletes and the system that failed to stop him. 

The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security has jurisdiction over the health and safety of USA Gymnastics and U.S. Olympic athletes.