Long live our newspapers!

Al S. Mendoza

THERE is this American newspaper that is now the toast of the sporting world in particular and of humanity in general.

The Indianapolis Star of Indiana has become the star itself after its expose of sexual-abuse allegations in American gymnastics led to a conviction of a sports doctor.

On Thursday (January 25), former sports doctor Larry Nassar was found guilty of sex-related offenses against seven gymnasts, the Associated Press reported.

Nassar had admitted sexually assaulting athletes under the guise of medical treatment as an employee of the Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

He was sentenced from 40 to 175 years in prison by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.

Also next week, Nassar faces sentencing in a neighboring Michigan county where he abused girls at a gymnastics club.

You think that’s it? Uh-oh.

Nassar had already been sentenced to 60 years in prison for child pornography.

In the latest sentencing, the newspaper’s reporters received praise.

“We as a society need investigative journalists more than ever,” Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis told the judge at Nassar’s sentencing hearing.

Povilaities said Nassar “would still be likely sexually assaulting girls if not for the work of an Indiana newspaper [Star] that helped to expose the abuse.”

It was in 2016 when Indianapolis Star began investigating how USA Gymnastics handled sexual-abuse allegations against coaches.

The spark was when the newspaper got a call from former gymnast Rachael Denhollander about Nassar’s crime.

After the Star story, more than 150 women and girls gave testimonies in support of Denhollander’s expose.

“Without Denhollander and the newspaper,” said Povilaitis, “Nassar would still be practicing medicine, treating athletes and abusing kids.”

She also unleashed an aside against government and school officials, saying: “We know federal law enforcement did not stop him, nor did trainers or coaches or dean or medical supervisors. But thank God we have these journalists, and that they exposed this truth…”

Who said print power aka newspapers have become passe, obsolete, amid social media’s wild, incessant, incursions?

Yesterday, the board of USA Gymnastics reportedly resigned.

If true, just right. They have lost all moral ground to lead.