Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is serving long sentences for decades of sexual abuse of young gymnasts. But how did the sports doctor get away with his crimes for so long? Wochit
Nearly four years after IndyStar journalists first revealed how USA Gymnastics' lax policies allowed predators to abuse child athletes, the story of that award-winning investigation is coming to Netflix.
During the course of the investigation, more than 500 women came forth to say that they were abused by former USAG team doctor Larry Nassar, before Nassar was convicted and given a prison sentence of at least 125 years.
Netflix is scheduled to release the documentary film "Athlete A," in which IndyStar journalists and athletes talk about the investigation into Nassar's abuses, on Wednesday.
Here's what we know.
What is the film 'Athlete A' about?
The documentary film by California filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk takes an in-depth look at the efforts of IndyStar journalists, who began looking into sexual-abuse allegations in March 2016, after they learned of a lawsuit filed in Georgia against Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics.
Cohen and Shenk made nearly a dozen visits to Indianapolis after the IndyStar published its initial report, titled "Out of Balance," on August 4, 2016.
According to a Netflix description, the film "follows the IndyStar reporters as they reveal the extensive cover-up and culture of cruelty that was allowed to thrive within elite gymnastics, the attorney fighting the institutions, and most importantly, the brave whistle-blowers who refuse to be silenced."
Tracking the abuse: Follow IndyStar's investigation of USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar from start to finish
Who was 'Athlete A'?
Maggie Nichols was the first athlete to bring a sexual abuse complaint about Nassar to top officials at USA Gymnastics in 2015.
Nichols later sued USA Gymnastics, claiming the organization failed to adequately supervise Nassar and failed to protect her, federal court records show. USA Gymnastics has denied any wrongdoing, and her lawsuit is pending.
Maggie Nichols: Olympic dreams, Larry Nassar and falling back in love with gymnastics
Who were the IndyStar journalists involved?
The investigation was reported by Marisa Kwiatkowski, Mark Alesia and Tim Evans, and edited by Steve Berta. Robert Scheer was the visual journalist.
Kwiatkowski is now an investigative reporter for USA TODAY. Alesia now works as director of university communication at Indiana State University. Berta, Evans and Scheer continue to work on investigations and other stories for IndyStar.
What awards did IndyStar win?
IndyStar won the prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors Tom Renner Award in 2016 and the American Society of News Editors O'Brien Fellowship Award in 2018.
Four IndyStar journalists involved in the investigation also were honored that year at the former Newseum's Free Expression Awards in Washington, D.C.
The chief prosecutor in the Nassar case, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis, also praised IndyStar's reporting at Nassar's sentencing.
"What finally started this reckoning and ended this decades-long cycle of abuse was investigative reporting," Povilaitis said. "Without that first Indianapolis Star story in August 2016, without the story where Rachael (Denhollander) came forward publicly shortly thereafter — he (Nassar) would still be practicing medicine, treating athletes and abusing kids."
USA Gymnastics abuse: IndyStar wins top investigative reporting award
How has the documentary film helped?
Alvie Lindsay, news and investigations director for IndyStar, said the announcement that "Athlete A" would be part of the Tribeca film festival was "an honor for IndyStar, and especially for our investigations team that worked so hard to uncover the sexual abuse scandal at USA Gymnastics."
“We see this documentary as another opportunity for this important work to reach a wider audience and bring greater attention to the need for meaningful reform that protects children.”
Ignoring the victims: How Larry Nassar abused hundreds of gymnasts and eluded justice for decades
What happened to USA Gymnastics and Nassar?
IndyStar's reporting led to the arrest, conviction and sentencing of Nassar, the resignation of the organization's longtime president, Steve Penny, and bipartisan federal legislation co-sponsored by 16 senators and signed into law by President Donald Trump to prevent amateur athletes from being abused.
IndyStar reporter David Lindquist contributed to this story.
Call IndyStar digital producer Dwight Adams at 317-444-6532. Follow him on Twitter: @hdwightadams.