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President and CEO of USA Gymnastics resigns amid sex abuse scandal

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images for Hilton(NEW YORK) -- The president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny, resigned on Thursday following criticism of the organization's handling of a sex abuse scandal.

According to a statement from USA Gymnastics, Penny informed the Board of Directors of his decision on Thursday, during a conference call. That just one week after the U.S. Olympic Committee recommended Penny should step down. The governing body plans to search for a new president and CEO, but will be led in the meantime by Board Chair Paul Parilla.

Parilla said in his own statement that USA Gymnastics thanked Penny "for his contributions and dedication...over the years."

"The Board believes this change in leadership will help USA Gymnastics face its current challenges and implement solutions to move the organization forward in promoting a safe environment for its athletes at all levels," Parilla added.

Penny joined USA Gymnastics in 1999 and was named president in 2005. While the U.S. has won the last two team and individual all-around gold medals in 2012 and 2016, the image of the organization has been hurt after an Indianapolis Star investigation found that it had been slow reacting to allegations of sexual abuse by a team doctor and coaches at member gyms nationwide.

Team coordinator Martha Karolyi retired last August.

The team doctor, Larry Nassar, was fired after Penny was informed of sexual abuse allegations against him. He is currently in prison in Michigan and faces federal and state charges.

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