Laurie Hernandez's former coach has been suspended for eight years by USA Gymnastics.
USA Gymnastics confirmed that Maggie Haney, co-owner and coach of MG Elite in Morganville, New Jersey, has been banned effective immediately after a hearing panel found that she had emotionally and verbally abused gymnasts. She can apply for reinstatement at the end of her suspension. If she's reinstated, she will be placed on two years probation.
Haney is not allowed to attend any USA Gymnastics events during the suspension with the exception of taking her daughter and can't contact any of the plaintiffs in her case.
Haney, a gymnastics coach in New Jersey since 2000, coached Hernandez at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where Hernandez was part of the Final Five team that won gold. Hernandez also won a silver medal on balance beam.
Hernandez stopped training with Haney after Rio. Recently, Haney had been coaching Tokyo hopeful Riley McCusker, part of the U.S. team that won the title at the 2018 world championships.
The original report alleged that Haney, 42, bullied gymnasts and forced others to compete or train while injured. Parents of MG Elite gymnasts alleged that others were allegedly yelled at for making mistakes, kicked out of practice and fat-shamed, and some were as young as 10.
"USA Gymnastics can confirm that the Safe Sport Hearing related to Maggie Haney has concluded. The independent hearing panel – comprised of three members of the gymnastics community, including an attorney, a club owner, and a former national team athlete – found that Ms. Haney violated the USA Gymnastics Code of Ethical Conduct, Safe Sport Policy, and other policies," a USA Gymnastics statement read. "As a result, the hearing panel determined that Ms. Haney is suspended from membership, and any coaching of USA Gymnastics athletes or in member clubs, for a period of eight years, effective immediately, followed by a two year probationary period. After the suspension concludes, Ms. Haney may reapply for membership after submitting proof of completing certain specified Safe Sport courses."
Haney has not responded to requests for comment from the Asbury Park Press.
Hearings began on Feb. 3 after months of delays. Hernandez testified against Haney while McCusker submitted a written complaint to the panel, according to a report by the OC Register. Haney had been suspended by USA Gymnastics since that day, pending the outcome of the hearing. The USA Gymnastics website said that Haney was prohibited from all contact with minors during that time.
USA Gymnastics also suspended Victoria Levine, a coach and the co-owner of MG Elite, last month on an interim basis after emotional and verbal abuse allegations were made against her. That case is still pending.
The investigation was made public last August while USA Gymnastics was reportedly made aware of some allegations against Haney, including Hernandez's complaint, as early as 2016, according to the OC Register.
USA Gymnastics originally said it would give its ruling by April 22, but that was a calendar error. The original deadline was April 29.
McCusker is training with Brian Carey at Arizona Sunrays in Phoenix and has done so since Haney’s original suspension in February. After taking more than a year off from gymnastics after the 2016 Summer Olympics, Hernandez returned to the sport in 2018 and currently trains at Gym-Max in California. Both are candidates to represent the United States at the 2020 Summer Olympics, which have been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Contributing: Nancy Armour, USA TODAY
Danny LoGiudice has covered local sports across New Jersey since 2014. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @danny_logiudice on Twitter.