Ex-USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny Arrested in Connection to Larry Nassar Case

Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny has been arrested for allegedly tampering with evidence in the case of Larry Nassar, ABC News reports.

Penny was accused of removing documents from Karolyi Ranch in Texas that were related to Nassar's activity at the gym, which served as the training facility for the U.S. national team from 2001 until this year.

According to the indictment, Penny removed the documents with "the purpose of impairing the ongoing investigation by destroying or hiding the documents" after he learned there was an investigation against Nassar CNN reports.

Authorities say Penny ordered the documents to be sent to him at USA Gymnastics headquarters in Indianapolis. The documents have not been recovered.

In a statement, the district attorney's office said that the documents would have helped with the investigation against Nassar and would have "assisted with the investigation of other offenses that may have occurred at the Karolyi Ranch."

Penny was arrested on Wednesday at a cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee after he was found by U.S. marshals and nearly three weeks after he was indicted by a grand jury for tampering with evidence. He will be extradited to Walker County, Texas. If convicted of the charge, which is a third-degree felony, he could face 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Penny's attorney, Edith Matthai, said that her client had no knowledge of the indictment and was arrested during a family vacation.

"If Mr. Penny had any idea he was sought in Texas this would have been appropriately handled through counsel without terrifying his family," Matthai said, adding that she believes facts will show Penny did not participate in criminal activity.

Penny resigned as president of USA Gymnastics in 2017 after allegations against Nassar surfaced. Nassar, a former faculty member at Michigan University and team doctor for the U.S. national team, was accused of sexual assault by more than 130 women and girls including several Olympic gymnasts. In January, he was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.

Karolyi Ranch was operated by Bela Karolyi and wife Marta Karolyi, both of whom selected and trained athletes for the U.S. national team. Nassar worked at the facility and several of the women who accused him said that they were abused by him while training there.

Two others have also been arrested in connection with Nassar's case — Debbie Van Horn, a trainer who worked with Nassar, was arrested last month, and William Strampel, the former dean of Michigan State University's osteopathic medical school and former boss of Nassar, was also charged.

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Van Horn denied charges and Strampel was charged in March with neglect of duty and criminal sexual conduct.

Photo Credit: Getty / Mark Wilson