This Olympic Gymnast Says Her Team Doctor Sexually Abused Her
Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, who won gold and silver medals in the 2012 Summer Games, said on Twitter yesterday that she was abused by former gymnastics Team USA doctor Larry Nassar.
McKayla made the revelation as part of the #MeToo movement, which encourages people to share their stories of rape and sexual harassment on social media.
It went viral on Sunday, and celebrities such as Blake Lively and Reese Witherspoon spoke out along with thousands of other people about their personal experiences.
“People should know this is not just happening in Hollywood,” McKayla began. “This is happening everywhere. Wherever there is a position of power, there seems to be potential for abuse.”
McKayla says she had a dream of going to the Olympics but “the things I had to endure to get there were unnecessary and disgusting.”
McKayla says that she was molested by Nassar, who currently faces 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct according to ESPN, when she was as young as 13.
“Dr. Nassar told me that I was receiving 'medically necessary treatment that he had been performing on patients for over 30 years,'” McKayla wrote. “It started when I was 13 years old, at one of my first National Team training camps in Texas and it didn't end until I left the sport. It seemed whenever and wherever this man could find the chance, I was 'treated.'”
— mckayla (@McKaylaMaroney) October 18, 2017
McKayla says she was even abused when she and her teammates were in London before the Fierce Five won the team gold medal and before she won silver in the vault.
McKayla says that when she was 15, Nassar gave her a sleeping pill for an all-day flight to Tokyo and, when she woke up, she was alone with him in his hotel room getting a “treatment.” “I thought I was going to die that night,” she added.
Nassar has pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges and will be sentenced on November 27th, according to ESPN.
He also faces charges in Michigan from women who say he penetrated them with his fingers for his own sexual gratification. If he’s convicted on any of the counts, he could be sentenced to life in prison. Attorneys for both Nassar and USA Gymnastics did not respond to the Associated Press' request for comment.
Other gymnasts who have accused Nassar of sexual abuse and assault include Jamie Dantzscher, who won a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympic Games and, Jessica Howard and Jeanette Antolin, former members of the U.S. National Team. “He was my buddy, he was on my side,” Jamie said of the doctor, whose treatment she hadn't understood to be abuse until years later.
McKayla ended her tweet on this powerful note: “Silence has given the wrong people power for too long, and it's time to take our power back.”