Details of the severance package given to former USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun have been revealed ©Getty Images

Former United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chief executive Scott Blackmun, criticised for failing to protect gymnasts from the abuse carried out by Larry Nassar, was given a severance package of $2.4 million (£1.9 million/€2.1 million).

The figure, lambasted by the lawyer for sexual abuse victims seeking damages from USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), was revealed in the organisation's non-profit tax information made public yesterday.

Blackmun resigned from his role at the USOC, which changed its name to the USOPC last month, under pressure in February of last year.

He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer the previous month.

In a statement to the New York Times, USOPC chair Susanne Lyons defended the payment to Blackmun.

"In 2018 USOPC Board of Directors approved a separation agreement including severance for former chief executive Scott Blackmun," Lyons told the newspaper. 

"At that time, based on the requirement for new leadership to guide the organisation forward, as well as Blackmun's serious health challenges, the Board approved a separation agreement, as provided for in his contract."

Blackmun stepping down came just two months after an independent report into the sexual abuse scandal was scathing of his failure to investigate allegations against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, jailed for up to 175 years in February.

The report by law firm Ropes and Gray, commissioned by the USOC and which cost $5.2 million (£4.1 million/€4.6 million), said Blackmun and chief of sport performance Alan Ashley knew about the accusations over a year before they became public.

The investigation found that neither Blackmun nor Ashley "engaged with USA Gymnastics on the reported concerns, shared the information with others at the USOC or took any other action" when they learned of the allegations against Nassar in July 2015.

It was not until September 2016 that the crimes committed by Nassar, who abused dozens of gymnasts including Olympic gold medallists under the guise of medical care, entered the public domain.

Blackmun told investigators he had "initiated an internal effort at the USOC to alert his SafeSport team to the allegations and to confirm that the USOC was taking all appropriate steps to respond to the allegations and ensure athlete safety".

This claim was dismissed in the report, which concluded "no such conversations were had and no such steps were taken".

Ashley, who was sacked immediately after the report was released in December, made $592,000 (£471,000/€524,000) in 2018, the tax return document shows.

"Blackmun knew Larry Nassar was a child molester in summer 2015," John Manly, the lawyer for victims of the sexual abuse carried out by Nassar, said on Twitter. 

"He concealed that fact from the public, the media, police & worst of all the athletes & their parents.

"Instead of going to jail he's been rewarded w/2.4 mill. by USOC leaders.